Coronavirus Germany News on January 21, 2021: Students Should be Allowed to Repeat the Year
- Teachers' Association: Students should be allowed to repeat the school year voluntarily
- The German Teachers' Association calls for children and young people with learning difficulties to repeat the school year voluntarily.
- The so-called seven-day incidence, an important indicator for the number of new infections with the coronavirus, has fallen significantly in Germany.
- Due to the lack of Biontech vaccine, the vaccination campaign in North Rhine-Westphalia is stalling.
The German Teachers' Association calls for children and young people with learning difficulties to be offered to voluntarily repeat the school year because of the coronavirus pandemic - without them being considered to be "persistent."
"There is a group of students who need an additional year," said association president Heinz-Peter Meidinger to Tagesspiegel. Otherwise, these young people would fail at the latest at the final exams or in the Abitur. "The pupil then leaves school with less equipment - and has poorer chances in further life," warned Meidinger. In a repetition year, students could specifically catch up on learning material and be encouraged. Automatic transfers, half an extra school year, or a general waiver of staying seated, and grades are "just a doctor of symptoms."
The voluntary repetition of a school year is already possible today. In some places, however, this is considered a repetition due to failure to transfer. This means that if a student voluntarily repeats a class and is then not transferred, a student may have to leave school.
The federal and state governments agreed on Tuesday to extend the corona lockdown, which was initially limited to the end of January until mid-February. The main reason is concerns about new, more contagious virus variants. In principle, there should still be no face-to-face teaching in schools. However, in individual countries, there are considerations of returning to face-to-face operations earlier, at least in primary schools.
More than 20,000 new infections, but the incidence is falling.
In Germany, the number of people infected with corona increases by 20,398 to 2,088,400. The Robert Koch Institute reports 1,013 new deaths. This increases the number of people who have died after being infected to 49,783.
The so-called seven-day incidence has thus decreased significantly. The RKI gave it on Thursday morning as 119.0 - the lowest value since November 1st. The seven-day incidence, i.e., the number of new infections reported to the health authorities per 100,000 inhabitants per week, had fallen continuously over the past ten days. It had reached its previous high just before Christmas (December 22nd) with 197.6. However, the federal states' differences are great: Thuringia has the highest incidences with 225.0 and Brandenburg with 203.3. Bremen has the lowest value with 76.6.
NRW imposes vaccination ban in clinics
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has imposed an immediate vaccination ban in hospitals that are supplied with Biontech vaccine. The reason is delivery problems, according to an email from the Ministry of Health.
It had previously been announced that the start of vaccinations for people over 80 who live at home would be postponed due to the delayed deliveries. The 53 vaccination centers in the state will only start operating on February 8th - a week later than previously planned, said a spokesman for the NRW Ministry of Health.
Heil: Do not confuse the current regulation with the "right to work from home."
Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil has presented the new coronavirus rules regarding the home office and other workplace regulations. Heil said that to prevent the spread of the more dangerous virus variants. Thus a complete lockdown that would be detrimental to the economy was also important to act "quickly and preventively" concerning occupational safety. The working world must also make its contribution to combating the pandemic.
In the explanations to the regulation, his ministry speaks of a "duty" to offer home offices "as far as this is possible according to operational conditions." Heil warned employers against arbitrarily canceling the option to work from home and announced controls. "They have to say clearly where it is possible - and also where it is not possible. Where it is possible, they should make it possible, and if there is any doubt, this will also be checked by the health and safety authorities."
Heil emphasized that the current regulation should not be confused with the debate on an enforceable right to work from home but a measure of occupational safety in the pandemic. The regulation does not focus on sanctions against employers. In an emergency, however, known means would be available as punitive measures to sanction violations of occupational safety measures that would presumably be considered administrative offenses. No one could be forced to work in the home office with this requirement, Heil also said.
The associated ordinance states that employers must offer employees in the case of office work or comparable activities to carry out these activities in their home if there are no compelling operational reasons to the contrary. The home office requirement is no longer linked to a specific incidence value, as provided in a previous draft ordinance. The regulations are expected to come into force next Wednesday and initially apply until March 15. Heil urged the employees actually to accept home office offers. There are studies with different statements on how widespread homework is currently. However, it is becoming apparent in other countries that having to work from home can go a long way towards stopping the virus's spread. In Germany, however, "
The "Corona Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance" also provides for a limitation of the number of employees in closed rooms and a requirement for employers to provide "medical face masks," "FFP2 masks," or "comparable respiratory masks" if it is not possible to maintain distances.
Drosten: Nip more contagious mutants in the bud
The virologist Christian Drosten assumes that the more contagious Coronavirus variant, which was first discovered in Great Britain, has been less widespread in Germany. He now sees a time window to nip the spread in this country in the bud, said the expert from the Berlin Charité on Tuesday in the podcast "Coronavirus Update" at NDR-Info. "We have to do something now if we want to influence the germination of the mutant in Germany. You can't do it well later. Then it's too late." In the UK, lockdown measures have already shown effects.
Based on the available data, the virologist can assume that the variant is actually more contagious than previous forms. "We have the results on the table. We are dealing with a mutant that is spreading faster. The quantitative extent, that really has to be discussed again." According to Drosten, the variant is a smaller percentage more contagious than initially assumed - at first, there was talk of 50 to 70 percent compared to earlier forms.
After a strong spread of certain coronavirus variants was recently observed abroad, there is now an increasing search for Germany. But this does not apply to every sample. Drosten assumes that cases have been introduced over the Christmas period. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), variant B.1.1.7 discovered in Great Britain has so far been detected in 20 cases in six federal states. Drosten said that data was still being collected and that more could be said about this country's situation in the coming weeks. According to his estimate, the mutant makes up about one percent or less of Germany's cases.
In general, Drosten emphasized that virus mutations are normal and are not necessarily associated with relevant property changes. Of course, he does not know all corona virus variants either. Regarding the slight decrease in the number of corona infections in Germany, the virologist said that the trend was probably "slowly real" and no longer distorted by the holidays. The number of cases could not only grow exponentially but could also decrease exponentially through containment measures, affirmed Drosten.
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