When will schools open again? What each federal state is planning

When will schools open again? What each federal state is planning

The federal and state governments in Germany have broadly agreed to a partial relaxing of coronavirus restrictions. This includes the gradual reopening of schools from May 4, to pave the way back to normal life for children and young people. But Germany’s federal system means there are some differences between the states. 

Federal states all have own ideas about reopening schools

Angela Merkel’s announcement on Wednesday evening that restrictions would gradually be lifted came as a relief to many, but it also left parents with plenty of questions. When exactly will they be able to send their children back to school, creche or kindergarten? 

As was clear from the fact that negotiations dragged on for several hours, the federal states all want to tackle the matter at different speeds. Broadly, they agreed that school operations would resume gradually from May 4, starting with graduating classes and “qualification-relevant classes”. All daycare centres remain closed. 

However, it was also agreed that individual states can deviate from this date, partly to make allowances for different school holiday dates. Here’s what each state is planning.


Schools in Baden-Württemberg will remain closed for most grades, as well as universities and Kitas. From May 4, classes will resume in a very restricted and gradual manner, starting with grades which have final exams this year or next year. Children in the fourth grade will then return to school, but a date for this has not yet been given. 


Bavaria is not planning on reopening its schools until May 11. There is an emergency plan for childcare in place for parents who work in “systemically relevant professions” like healthcare, the police or fire brigade. 


Abitur exams in Berlin are due to start next Monday, April 20 with the Latin examination. Schools will then gradually open in the following week, starting with the 10th grade on April 27 and the sixth grade on May 4. From May 4, pupils in final-year classes will also be given classes again, as well as those who will take exams next year. 


All schools in Brandenburg will remain closed for the time being. From May 4, final-year classes in primary and secondary schools will be taught again, under strict hygiene regulations. 


Schools in Bremen will gradually resume operations from May 4. Priority will be given to final-year classes in general education and vocational schools and the fourth grade at primary schools. The exact details are still being discussed. 


In Hamburg, lessons will resume on May 4 for the fourth grade of elementary school and the final grade of secondary school. 


Schools in Hesse will open once again from April 27. However, this only applies to the final class of secondary schools. Fourth graders should follow at some point in the future but the date has not been decided yet. 

Lower Saxony

In Lower Saxony, the gradual reopening of schools will start on April 27 with grades 10 and 13. From May 4, more classes will resume. 


In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, schools will reopen from April 27, starting with grades 10, 11 and 12. Authorities are also working on a concept that will allow other grades to return to school from the beginning of May. 

North Rhine-Wesphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia wants pupils to return to school after the Easter holidays. Schools should reopen on April 20 for students due to take final exams this year. From May 4, students who have exams next year will be able to go back to school, including elementary pupils. 


In Rhineland-Palatinate, classes for final year students will resume on April 27. On May 4, pupils who will take their final exams next year will also be allowed to return to school, as well as fourth graders who are about to start secondary school. Class sizes will be reduced. 


Saarland will reopen schools gradually from May 4, starting with grades nine and 10. It is also currently being considered whether fourth graders will join them.


In Saxony, schools will gradually reopen from April 20, with different dates depending on the type of school. First, Gymnasien will open to teach Abitur students, followed on April 22 by graduating classes at vocational and high schools. After two to three weeks, further grades will be reintroduced. 


Teaching will resume next week for graduating classes in Saxony Anhalt. All other pupils should return to school gradually from May 4. 


All schools will remain closed in Schleswig-Holstein until May 4. The Abitur exams will go ahead as planned from April 21 and, on exam-free days, final year students will be given teaching. 


Abitur students will return to school in Thuringia on April 27. Other students who are due to take exams this year will follow on May 4. 

Broad approach to be decided on April 29

The Education Ministers’ Conference will present a concept on April 29 as to how lessons can start again, with regards to hygiene measures, school bus operation, break times and group distribution. A few measures under discussion include distance requirements, smaller learning groups or a shift system in which classes are divided into two groups which are taught separately on a weekly rotation. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

Read more



Leave a comment