Return: “School must be the first thing that is started up” – Coronavirus Vienna


Christoph Wiederkehr after the “briefing” with Peter Hacker.

The freshly baked Viennese city councilor for education Christoph Wiederkehr wants to restart the schools first after the lockdown. That means not only open doors, but also normal lessons.

Vienna insists on the resumption of teaching in schools immediately after the end of the lockdown on December 7th. “The school has to be the first thing that is started up again,” said the newly appointed Education Councilor Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS) on Wednesday in his first press conference as head of department. He was supported by the City Councilor for Health Peter Hacker (SPÖ): “It is important to us to make it clear that school is not a dangerous place.”

“Briefing” with hackers

Wiederkehr and Hacker had invited to a “situation briefing” on the subject in the town hall in the morning, at which, among other things, members of the city crisis team, the education directorate as well as pupil and parent representatives were present. The aim was to take stock of the situation and get suggestions for how to proceed, as Wiederkehr said after the morning meeting.

There are obviously many problems at the moment. For parents it is sometimes difficult to reconcile home office and home schooling. At least they would have room “the size of a villa”, said Hacker: “Often everything happens on the kitchen table.”

Students would complain of learning deficits. In this respect, the school must start up “as quickly as possible”, demanded Wiederkehr: “Open school doesn’t just mean that the door is open, but that lessons take place there.”

Teachers complain about a lack of protective equipment

Hacker reported that teachers complained that the Department of Education’s supplies of protective equipment such as masks did not seem to be working too well. He will therefore offer the ministry that Vienna take over the delivery: “But that has to be decided by the federal government.” Wiederkehr added that they were considering how schools could rent additional rooms. The test strategy in schools via belt tests is also to be further intensified.

The new Education City Council also underlined: “There must be no third lockdown for schools.” Hacker was pleased that when it came to school openings in Corona times, the new red-pink coalition was “completely of the same opinion”. In this respect, he would like to thank you for having organized today’s meeting as the first official act.

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