In the future, classes should go nationwide for at least five days from the second case of corona infection Distance Learning sent. The education and health ministries have agreed on this, the APA said. However, this also has to be agreed with the federal states. In this way the schools or school authorities would de facto take over part of the tasks of the health authorities in this area.
In the past few weeks, teachers’ representatives and directors in particular had repeatedly complained that, particularly in Salzburg and Upper Austria, schoolchildren were repeatedly not segregated, or only delayed, and continued to attend classes, despite contact with infected classmates. Most recently, they therefore demanded to be able to make the decision about a quarantine themselves and only to have it approved by the health authorities afterwards.
So far, sending the children home has been based on the respective quarantine or contact person rules imposed by the health authorities of the countries. These should actually have proceeded according to similar rules – i.e. quarantine from several cases in a class. However, since contact tracing has de facto collapsed in several federal states, this was often not complied with. From the beginning of November, Salzburg only sent infected children home.
In future, the rule should be: If an infection occurs in a class, only the affected child has to stay at home. Classes continue for all other children, but they have to test every day for five days.
From the second case onwards in the class, the entire class changes to after consultation with the respective education directorate Distance Learning. The children usually stay there for five days. A test must then be completed – if possible a PCR test. Then the (negative) children can go back to face-to-face lessons.
“This is a cautious measure that is adapted to the current infection situation in order to prevent further spread in the class,” said Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) in a statement. “Here, the school is once again taking on the task of the health authorities, which are currently not exercising them.”