Many students will look forward to seeing friends again.
For some, there is likely to be a queasy feeling about the corona numbers rising again.
How the first federal states approach the restart.
Kiel / Schwerin / Hamburg - It starts again for children and young people in three federal states: Going to school under Corona conditions.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein will start this Monday, Hamburg will follow on Thursday.
Many classmates will meet, because all three countries start with face-to-face classes.
How things continue will depend on the development of the corona numbers - and they are currently rising steadily, albeit at a low level.
Neither parent nor teacher representatives have any illusions.
“In the foreseeable future there will be alternating and distance teaching again in the new school year,” says Sabrina Wetzel from the board of the Federal Parents' Council.
The President of the German Teachers' Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, emphasizes: "We will have to reckon with a further increase in the number of infections and will therefore need safety precautions for months."
Back to schools
At the start of school, the classes should fill up.
All three countries start with face-to-face teaching, even if the compulsory presence in the Hanseatic city is suspended for the time being.
For example, students who are at increased health risk or who do not want to be tested can continue to study at home.
Mouth and nose covers are a familiar sight in the classroom even in the new school year.
Hamburg remains with the mask requirement in the buildings.
Schleswig-Holstein adheres to the requirement to wear a mask indoors for the first three weeks; it is no longer required in schoolyards.
The pupils in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have to wear a mask in the first two weeks in class, later only when the state's own corona warning light, which is based on several values about the infection rate, shows orange.
Schleswig-Holstein wants to make vaccination easy for older students.
According to Education Minister Karin Prien (CDU), from August 19, schoolchildren from the age of twelve and all employees of the mobile teams of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians can be vaccinated against the corona virus at the 250 locations of community schools and grammar schools.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania wants to send mobile vaccination teams for 16- and 17-year-olds to schools in the second week, the need should be determined beforehand.
Hamburg is not planning any vaccination offers in schools.
In Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, the following applies to teachers and students alike: Those who have not been vaccinated or recovered must test themselves twice a week.
In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, students and unvaccinated teachers have to be tested twice a week.
Teacher representative Meidinger would actually like rapid tests every day, but at least three times a week.
Parents representative Wetzel warns that tests must be carried out in schools outside of school hours.
"Otherwise something like that eats up a lesson every time."
Learning under difficult conditions has set many students back.
Schleswig-Holstein tries to close the gaps with a year-round “learning opportunities program”.
20,000 education vouchers have been provided for weaker students, 1,500 of which have so far been accessed.
During the summer holidays, there were 1,100 holiday learning groups in Hamburg who were supposed to help schoolchildren to catch up on learning backlogs caused by pandemics.
While the offer was only open to students with a corresponding need during the summer and autumn holidays last year, it could now be used by everyone.
The authority extended the project for another five study holidays - until the end of 2022.
According to Education Minister Bettina Martin (SPD), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania wants to determine the level of learning in the first few weeks of school.
In closing the gaps, the country is hoping for student teachers and retired teachers who will be asked to provide support in the schools.
There is also money for private tuition.
Disputes continue over the opportunities and benefits of air purification devices and systems. The federal funding criteria are very strict, notes Schleswig-Holstein's Minister Karin Prien (CDU). Accordingly, only rooms that cannot be ventilated or poorly ventilated come into question. This is also criticized by teacher representative Meidinger, for whom the federal program came too late. He fears that of 650,000 classrooms in Germany at the start of school, at most one in ten will be equipped with mobile room air filters.
Parents representative Wetzel warns against too high hopes.
"In particular, stationary systems, which may remove virus-laden air and passively transport new air, are good, but also costly to install." Mobile fans, on the other hand - which would also cause a certain level of noise pollution - have to be positioned correctly, and advice is needed Professionals.
It will not work without masks, regular ventilation and compliance with the hygiene rules.
Meanwhile, Hamburg is accelerating: by the autumn holidays, which start on October 4th, there should be an air filter system in every classroom.
In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania there is a funding program for air filter devices and CO2 measuring devices, with most school bodies relying on the latter.
Wetzel draws a mixed balance. "Unfortunately, the supply of digital devices to schoolchildren is not as advanced as it should be," she says, referring to the entire country. Not all of the funds have been accessed by a long way and there is still a lack of wifi at some schools. For teachers there is a need for compulsory further training in digital distance teaching. Meidinger reports: "The teachers have become significantly better at handling video conferences and digital tools." However, he complains that almost half of the schools still do not have a fast Internet.
The bottom line is that we are a little further today than in summer 2020, says Meidinger. “Compared to the situation a year ago, we now have more instruments such as rapid tests to increase security in schools.” For the new school year, Wetzel hopes that authorities will not make general decisions about school closings. "Some schools have very good protective measures, others do not - that should play a role." Dpa