Hamburg (dpa / lno) – The “Families in Crisis” initiative has asked the Hamburg Senate to keep schools open during the corona pandemic. “The children’s right to safety, autonomy, education and physical and mental health must not lag behind the protection of groups at risk from Covid-19,” said Anna-Maria Kuricová, co-founder of “Families in Crisis”, the German press agency dpa. Even in a pandemic, children and adolescents would have the right to develop in a child-friendly manner. In addition, all measures must take into account that children fall ill less often and are not considered to be the drivers of the pandemic.
Restricting school operations would undermine educational security and equal opportunities. Numerous studies have now described the negative effects of the school closings in the first half of this year. “Children who have a harder time anyway are hit particularly hard,” said Kuricová. According to a study by the Ifo Institute, during the lockdown in spring, the time children spent attending school was halved. In addition, “the results indicate that the corona crisis is likely to have exacerbated the already high level of educational inequality in Germany,” it says.
Demands from associations and some parents’ representatives to switch to the so-called changeover model consider the initiative as not thought through to the end and rash. “Should a change of course be necessary, we advocate a graduated approach depending on the age group,” said the mother of two daughters. In elementary schools, alternating lessons are simply not an alternative, because the children are not yet able to learn so well on their own. Changing lessons is an emergency solution for the older school classes and depends on the basic digital equipment of schools, teachers and students.
Instead, the initiative calls for better preventive measures – such as the purchase of air filter devices and FFP2 masks. A new test strategy using rapid antigen tests could also secure school operations. “Many families are on the verge of their strength after the first lockdown,” said Kuricová. It is not only single parents who depend on reliable care for their children so that they can go to work. Numerous families are also dependent on a second salary. “And what do parents who have children in different schools with different change models? They couldn’t go to work either,” said the 46-year-old.
She knows parents who even gave up their jobs because of the extreme double burden during the first lockdown. A dialogue with experts from all relevant disciplines is important, including paediatricians, psychologists, school principals, educators, IT experts and, last but not least, schoolchildren and their parents. “We would like all those involved to have more courage to develop ideas and to break new ground as to how schools can function in the pandemic,” said Kuricová.
Hamburg wants to stick to its Corona concept for the time being and keep the schools open, as students do not get infected with the virus above average. On Wednesday, the country leaders want to meet again with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and adopt new corona guidelines.