No singing, no brass music and no hospitality. On September 14th, the Neukeferloh primary school has to make its school enrollment ceremony simple because of the corona pandemic. After all, the first graders will see video recordings on which the older students welcome them. Since the parents are not allowed to stay in the school building according to the requirements of the Ministry of Culture, the event takes place in the community center. You can experience the tour through the school building digitally. The main thing is that the school is allowed to receive the children in face-to-face classes again, says headmistress Christine Neumann.
According to the official letter from the Ministry of Culture from the beginning of the week, the mask and test requirement in schools still exists. A sensible measure to make face-to-face teaching possible in the coming school year is what Gerald Faißt, director of the secondary school in Taufkirchen, thinks. More than 5000 masks and several thousand corona tests are in the basement of the Taufkirchen school and are waiting for the coming school year. What is new is that so-called PCR pool tests are being introduced in elementary and special schools. The children suck on chopsticks for about half a minute, which are then collected in a container and evaluated in a laboratory.
Otherwise a lot stays the same. The strategy of the facilities continues to be: test, ventilate, keep your distance. In addition, there is the vaccination for children over twelve years of age, behind which the school principals stand firmly. When it comes to mobile air purification devices, however, opinions differ.
According to Rector Harun Lehrer from the Joseph Breher Middle School in Pullach, it is still unclear whether the school will have its own vaccination day. There has been no feedback from the parents as to whether the school should organize a series of vaccinations. The date for such an offer is already set at the Realschule Taufkirchen. On September 20, schoolchildren can receive their first dose from Johanniter. A survey in which parents can express their interest is already running. “It will be exciting to see how the vaccination will be accepted,” says Gerald Faißt. At the Carl-Orff-Gymnasium in Unterschleißheim, the parents’ council has already welcomed the vaccination, as director Greta Schicker says. When the vaccination recommendation came out, she immediately informed the parents that they can register through the vaccination center. In the coming school year, Schicker relies not only on vaccinations but also on periodically ventilating windows. She doesn’t think much of mobile air purifiers. The devices would hum too loudly and disrupt the class. “Turn on the heating and then ventilate” is their motto. That consumes more energy, but that is what the air purifiers do too. Nobody in her school house was frozen, the headmistress assures: “I saw students who were so lightly clad that I thought I couldn’t see properly.”
Heinz-Joseph Reiser from the Feldkirchen community is also not convinced by the devices. “I think it is a politically motivated statement that mobile air purifiers would be effective,” says the 62-year-old. Other municipalities, such as Grasbrunn, rely on the devices for the Neukeferloh elementary school. “But it never replaces ventilation,” emphasizes Rector Neumann. In the middle school in Pullach, the air purifiers are mainly used in the basement rooms. “It is the turn of the community to provide us with it across the board,” says the headmaster, teacher. At the moment, they are a scarce commodity, because many institutions are vying for them.
Harun Lehrer is planning a refresher course for the students in the first few weeks, in which they repeat how they deal with the learning platform in the case of alternating lessons. Logging in, uploading PDFs and the correct use of the rental tablets should be explained. “But of course we hope that we don’t have to use that at all,” says Lehrer.
None of the headmasters wants to go back to online or alternate classes. With online lessons, the children would quickly have reached a level of saturation and lost concentration, says Gerald Faißt. Therefore, it is now also a matter of making up for what has been neglected. This does not only apply to the teaching of the material from the curriculum. “School is not only German, maths and English, it also teaches social skills,” says Greta Schicker, and Christine Neumann also emphasizes that the children learn helpfulness, consideration, tolerance and a variety of opinions in the classroom