German children told to bring blankets to school as windows left open to prevent infection
On June 15, 2020, the students will sit in a classroom at the Petri primary school in Dortmund, West Germany, amid the novel COVID-19 pandemic of the coronavirus. - From June 15, 2020, all primary school children in the North Rhine-Westphalian state will be attending classes regularly until the summer holidays. The distance rules and mandatory mouthguards no longer apply. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP via Getty Images) - INA FASSBENDER / AFP
Schools in Germany advise students to bring blankets with them to class and to wear hats, coats and scarves as part of the fight against the coronavirus.
School principals have issued the advice in response to new government guidelines requiring schools to ventilate classrooms by opening windows every twenty minutes.
If you leave the windows open, one crack is not enough. Schools were told to open the classroom windows fully for three to five minutes and, if possible, open doors to allow air to circulate.
In parts of Germany, daytime temperatures are already as low as 5 ° C and many classrooms are too cold to study comfortably.
With winter temperatures, which are often well below zero, no one has any illusions about how cold classrooms could get.
A sixth grade college in Bochum has advised students to bring “warm clothes with hoods or hats and blankets” to class, and the secondary schools in Düsseldorf allow students to wear coats and gloves during class.
In a letter to the students, the Lower Saxony regional education minister warned that “things are getting a little cold” and urged them to “dress warmly”.
Doctors have spoken out against the new government regulations, warning that they will cause a wave of colds and other infections.
"The rules are absurd," said Dr. Stephan Pilsinger, a Munich general practitioner who became a politician and member of the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel, told the Bild newspaper. "You are a health hazard."
Children will respect the rules of social distancing when they enter Petri Primary School in Dortmund, West Germany, on May 7, 2020 as the school will reopen for some students after the lockdown due to the new Coronavirus-Covid-19 pandemic. - The primary schools in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia were reopened for fourth graders as planned. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP via Getty Images) - INA FASSBENDER / AFP
"In the cold months, thick sweaters, scarves and blankets are part of the basic equipment of school children," said Susanne Lin-Klitzing from the Philologists 'Union teachers' union.
She said staff and students need to dress "onion" - with multiple layers that they can remove as the classrooms warm up between ventilation times.
However, she blamed regional governments for not properly planning the cold months and said that if they had more warning schools, they could have put plastic shields between students to prevent infection.
"Here the failure of the education politicians becomes clear," said Finn Wandhoff, the head of the student association. "If we already had the technical possibilities for online lessons in Germany, our students would not have to freeze now."
The new regulations are part of a package that was agreed by a standing committee of regional education ministers from the 16 federal states.
Ministers will release the full set of regulations and guidelines for the winter months later this week.
Germany was one of the first European countries to reopen schools after the first wave of pandemics and to return to full class size at the end of the summer vacation.
But ever-changing government advice has resulted in a number of embarrassing U-turns. The Hamburg state government bought 30,000 transparent plastic head visors to be distributed to schools in August.
But it has now told schools that they are not providing adequate protection and should not be used. Instead, students and staff must wear face masks while moving.
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