With the tightened measures for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland, schoolchildren are once again facing distance learning. For now for four days after the Easter break.
For the 456,000 students in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland, there is now distance learning for the fourth time within one year. After the Easter break, four days of distance learning are on the schedule again from Tuesday to Friday. Large-scale PCR tests are then planned – however, they will not be an entry requirement for returning to class.
The first three distance learning phases took place last spring, then in autumn and finally between Christmas and semester break. Issue number four should only last four days, said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) at a press conference on Wednesday evening. “We don’t plan on making it any longer.” The current situation is a “tragedy” for the children and young people. Restriction: “If we see next week in the evaluation that it is not going to work, then there are no taboos.” But that applies to all areas.
When they return to face-to-face operations, the students and teachers should then take PCR tests. However, these should not be a prerequisite for participation in classes, a test of all 456,000 students and school staff on the first day of school would not be organizationally possible, so the argument goes. Rather, the test should serve as an additional screening – the previous nose bur tests are important and good and will also be retained, according to Anschober. In between, however, it is important to also check the infection situation with the “gold standard” of the PCR test.
High number of infections in schools
The measures in the school area were justified by the Mayor of Vienna Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) with the meanwhile high number of infections in this sector too. In Vienna, according to the office of City Councilor for Health Peter Hacker (SPÖ), 12.9 percent of infections are currently taking place in schools (10.4) or kindergartens (2.5 percent). However, this is still far fewer than in the private sector (over 50 percent) or in companies (29). Since the transmissions in educational institutions mainly go back to adults according to studies, the teachers here rely on weekly PCR tests and vaccinations. The last first stitches should be set here by the end of the week.
According to the office of Health Councilor Ulrike Königsberger-Ludwig (SPÖ), an increase in infections in educational institutions has been registered in Lower Austria, around six percent of the infections in the past seven days can be attributed to kindergartens and schools, the APA said. Limitation: It is difficult to determine whether the infection actually took place in the educational institution or at home. No data was available from Burgenland on Wednesday.