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Baden-Württemberg delays school openings after COVID mutation found in Kita

Baden-Württemberg delays school openings after COVID mutation found in Kita

Baden-Württemberg delays school openings after COVID mutation found in Kita

A press conference, at which the state of Baden-Württemberg was expected to announce the reopening of primary schools and childcare centres, was cancelled at short notice on Wednesday afternoon, after a case of the highly-infectious COVID mutation was detected at a Kita in Freiburg. 

Baden-Württemberg schools will not reopen next week

The state premier of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, and Education Minister Susanne Eisenmann had been scheduled to hold a press conference at 2.30 pm on Wednesday, at which they were expected to announce that falling infection numbers in the southwestern state meant they could gradually reopen childcare centres and primary schools from the beginning of February. 

Shortly before the meeting was due to begin, however, the state government received confirmation that a case of one of the highly-contagious strains of COVID-19 had been detected at a daycare centre in Freiburg. 21 other infections have been reported and are now being investigated. The press conference was promptly cancelled. 

Prior to the meeting, Kretschmann had already emphasised that if the new virus variants from the UK or South Africa were found to be spreading in Baden-Württemberg, then the state government wouldn’t be in the position to reopen schools. “That could lead to drastic measures,” Kretschmann said on Tuesday. 

State government will wait for outcome of investigation

“We have to wait for the investigation and the result and only then can we make a decision on further steps in terms of the possible opening of primary schools and daycare centres,” said the state government’s spokesperson, Rudi Hoogvliet, on Wednesday. He added that six other cases of virus mutations have already come to light in Baden-Württemberg.

Whatever happens, it seems clear that schools will not be reopening as soon as next Monday. According to the Baden-Württemberg city council, there is now not enough time for schools to prepare. “It would be good to get a week to prepare,” said a spokesperson. “An opening is not easy to plan and implement. This cannot be done overnight.” 

The plan to reopen early education facilities so soon has already drawn criticism from educators, who are concerned not only about their own health but that of the children and their families. The Education and Science Union (GEW) says that to reopen primary schools and daycare centres next week would be negligent. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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