Should students be forced to wear masks in class again? This question is currently splitting the spirits. In view of the extremely high number of infections, it was decided, among other things, to return to the FFP2 mask requirement indoors throughout Austria, which is to come into force on March 23. This would also include school buildings and classrooms – but Minister of Education Martin Polaschek (ÖVP) recently rejected a comeback of the mask requirement for schoolchildren due to the low hospital occupancy rates.
Polaschek had to listen to strong criticism from many quarters for this attitude: In addition to the Salzburg State Association of Parents’ Associations at Higher and Middle Schools (SLEV) and the “Independent Teachers’ Unions” (ÖLI-UG), numerous journalists also attacked the “unscientific” minister for his decision . But not everyone sees it that way: public health expert Dr. Martin Sprenger from Graz supports the politician – he had already condemned the mask requirement as “useless” and “disproportionate for children” last year.
In a flaming plea, Sprenger primarily takes on a “standard” journalist on Facebook, whom Polaschek had criticized in an article as “ignorant and disappointing”. The doctor then shoots sharply at the journalist in question and other like-minded media representatives, who allegedly succumbed to “tunnel vision”. The doctor accuses the make-up apostles of a lack of judgment and a limited horizon, and in his post he poses a number of explosive questions that he would like journalists to answer: “In which European country is there still a mask requirement for schoolchildren? In which European country is there still an FFP-2 mask requirement for schoolchildren?” the doctor asks, among other things. Education is a human right, and despite protective measures, infections are unavoidable in life, the public health expert notes.
Sprenger has long been a critic of the state-mandated mask requirement, which, as he notes, can lead to complaints such as headaches, breathing problems, allergic skin reactions and, last but not least, communication problems if used for too long – not to mention the garbage that is produced.