Stuttgart (dpa / lsw) – At the start of the Advent season, the Landtag SPD trills its criticism of the government this time with stanzas of a Christmas carol: “You children come. Or go. Or stay at home. Or not …”, shares the opinion Parliamentary group on Tuesday – and accuses green-black of a chaotic pandemic policy. Because the Christmas holidays in the country will not start until December 23, as originally planned, despite the corona pandemic. The state government announced on Tuesday. The students should go on vacation on December 19th this year.
Well not after all. In order to reduce contacts and encounters shortly before Christmas Eve, lessons should take place on December 21st and 22nd under special conditions: Up to the seventh grade, regular face-to-face lessons apply at the local schools, but the compulsory attendance is suspended. Parents can leave their children at home if they want. Pupils from the eighth grade should be taught completely by distance learning on the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas Eve, which according to scientific knowledge they assume a higher risk of infection. Individual schools can deviate from the rule with flexible vacation days and still start the vacation earlier.
The federal and state governments had actually agreed last week that the children should be released on vacation on December 19 this year in order to reduce contacts and to have a few days’ buffer before the Christmas family celebrations when children are together and young people can voluntarily quarantine. Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) himself had already announced the early Christmas vacation before the consultation with his country colleagues. With the new initiative, Baden-Württemberg is now contradicting the agreement between the federal and state governments.
Education Minister Susanne Eisenmann (CDU) had serious concerns about the federal-state plans and in the past few days repeatedly warned of organizational questions and care problems for parents in the event of earlier holidays. She did not want to force the teachers in the country to provide emergency care because they were not responsible for it, she said a few days ago. From their point of view, emergency care would have been absurd, because the vacation is actually extended so that the children can stay at home.
With the concerns, she has prevailed in the state government. “I am glad that we have jointly agreed on a pragmatic solution that is oriented towards the needs of parents,” emphasized Eisenmann on Tuesday. Your compromise proposal takes account of the reduction in contact and supports the families with the question of childcare.
However, the new requirements do not meet with much approval from the teachers’ associations. “For school principals this is the worst of all solutions,” criticized the state chairman of the Association for Education and Upbringing (VBE), Gerhard Brand. The different plans for the lower and higher grades are a sign of the conflict in the state government and a “green-black compromise in election campaign times”.
The new GEW regional head Monika Stein accused the government of only passing responsibilities on to school administrators and municipalities, now to parents, for months. “In this case, the result is that those who can afford to bring their children home, the others not. And teachers become carers at risk of infection.”
“It would have been wise to give the two days free as recognition for the teachers,” said VBE boss Brand. In his opinion, the care of the children and young people could have been organized by the municipalities. “Teachers for pure supervision, that’s not okay,” said Brand. “And it would have been best if everything had been left as it was from the start.”
The Philologists Association criticizes the concept as unworldly. The government creates additional chaos in the schools. Most schools do not have a sufficient internet connection at all to teach more than half of all classes online from the school, criticized association chief Ralf Scholl.
Kretschmann, on the other hand, spoke on Tuesday of a good compromise, even if the state did not take the federal-state decision literally. That said nothing about the care options, said the head of government. “But it did not seem acceptable to me to make this decision without support options.” It is important that people can continue to work in important professions. The Ministry of Culture did not want any supervision by teachers, so they have now agreed on a different path. The main thing is to reduce contacts, he justified the government’s change of course. For the most part, the “spirit of the MPK decision” has been satisfied.