How the new Infection Protection Act disadvantages students - politics

At the beginning of the week, she made it clear in drastic terms that Karin Prien, the Minister of Education for Schleswig-Holstein, thinks very little of the planned new Infection Protection Act. Health Minister's draft Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is a "disaster for schoolchildren", complained the CDU politician, who is also President of the Conference of Ministers of Education this year, in the picture-Newspaper. It is "a throwback to the early days of the pandemic, when there were no vaccinations and immunizations". Prien's boss, Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther, also CDU, announced that he would not approve the draft law in the Bundesrat this Friday. Other countries could join.

Why is? In its previous version, the Infection Protection Act lists a number of contagious diseases that should urgently be kept out of educational institutions such as daycare centers and schools. Cholera is just as much a part of it as whooping cough, chickenpox, measles or the plague. Anyone who suffers from one of these illnesses or is suspected of suffering from one of these illnesses is allowed to visit daycare or school no longer enter. This applies to teachers as well as to children and young people.

The new version of the Infection Protection Act, which the Bundestag passed last week with the votes of the traffic light coalition and which is to apply from October 1, now provides for Covid-19 to be added to this list. This could have consequences for students. Because it means that they would have to test themselves both in the event of an infection and in the event of a suspicion. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, if you suspect corona, a negative self-test is necessary in order to be able to participate in class again. After an infection, a “confirmed negative test” is required, which daycare children and schoolchildren could take, for example, at a test center or “under supervision” at school.

This proposed change raises several questions. First of all: What is a suspicion - and who defines it? Does every little cold lead to expulsion from school from October, as is suspected in the state government of Schleswig-Holstein? In addition, what exactly does "under supervision" mean in the case of a possible free test at school? By the teachers? Would they even be qualified to do so under the law? In Schleswig-Holstein as well as in Bavaria, according to current planning, there are no plans for schools to offer tests. why? "A free test is not required to end the isolation," says the current Bavarian hygiene recommendations; "The school can therefore be visited again after 10 days at the latest." If the test is taken at the test center instead of at school, another question arises: Who pays if the test costs? The families themselves?

A compromise is possible. Bremen wants to use the scope of the law

Another question weighs even more heavily than the practical problems: Is it justified to once again impose stricter corona rules on schoolchildren than on the rest of the population - after two and a half years of a pandemic, in which, according to many experts, children and young people were expected to do a lot, possibly too much became? After all, people who return to work after a corona infection do not have to take a free test.

If you ask around the ministries of education, the health ministry's draft law is met with unanimous rejection - even in countries where the SPD or the Greens head the ministry. There is talk behind closed doors of a law that will "depopulate" the schools. However, it is completely open whether this rejection will also make itself felt in the vote in the Bundesrat on Friday - after all, it is the heads of government who vote there and not the ministers of education. So far, only Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia have openly threatened to withhold their approval of the law. In the case of Thuringia, however, the reason for the resistance is not the school, but the facility-related compulsory vaccination in the healthcare system.

It is conceivable that the opponents of the Infection Protection Act in its current form will agree to a compromise: They wave the draft through, but insist on a note in the protocol that promises a change in the disputed passages. If that doesn't work either, the federal states at least have one more option: use the leeway that the wording of the law gives them. Bremen's mayor Andreas Bovenschulte (SPD) announced that he wanted to "interpret the unspecified suspected corona case narrowly" - so narrow that "this is only available if the corona test is positive".

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