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GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the region

Rally held in Bonn for better corona measures in schools, Christmas and New Year timetables published for public transport, mindfulness trail set up in the Kottenforst, drive-in food festival at the Telekom Dome and virtual Astronomy on Tap event on Tuesday - here is our news in brief on Sunday.

Minister of Education criticised at Bonn rally

The Bonn Union for Education and Science (Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft, GEW) held a rally on the Münsterplatz at noon on Saturday. Around 30 people participated in the event to campaign for better plans and hygiene measures in nurseries and schools. The main tenor on Münsterplatz was that the current corona strategies in the education sector are insufficient. It was noticeable that the representatives for teachers, pupils and parents all stood united.

"We demand that a sensible system is finally put in place from 10 January," says Rabea Schwarze, student representative of the Hardtberg Gymnasium. Daily life at school has so far been a back-and-forth. First, it was mandatory to wear masks in class, then it wasn’t, and finally it was again. There are also problems with distancing in classrooms and on the playground and pupils have had to be quarantined again and again. "This creates an educational imbalance," says Schwarze. Lynn Siala, student representative of the Realschule Hardtberg, added that many teachers at her school have already had to go into quarantine and therefore many lessons had been cancelled. "That is why we are demanding a reduction in the learning material and adaptions to the final exams," she explained.

These demands are in line with those of the union. There is also agreement that the tough measures decided by the NRW Minister President on Friday are necessary in the current circumstances. Teacher and union leader Rolf Haßelkus criticises the fact that measures had not been taken earlier to avoid the current situation. The result is the current chaos caused by the measures adopted at short notice. “Now it is important to at least know how things will continue from 10 January," Haßelkus says. "Parents need planning security above all now, so they know what they have to prepare for." More hybrid teaching is also demanded by student representative Schwarze. "It can't go on as before, in full classes you are afraid of infecting yourself and your family."

The argument against hybrid teaching is often that parents would have too much childcare to deal with. Nevertheless, at the rally, Sava Stomporowski from the State Parents' Association of Integrated Schools in NRW (LEIS) spoke out in favour of precisely this form of teaching. "Thanks to various models, care for the younger children can also be guaranteed in hybrid lessons," says Stomporowski. Depending on demand, lessons could be divided into morning and afternoon phases or alternate on a daily or weekly basis.

"That is why Yvonne Gebauer (NRW Minister for Education) must finally do her homework and introduce these models," Stomporowski continues. It is the only way to avert the danger of further hard lockdowns and ad-hoc school closures in the future. "What we need now is a regular rhythm," says Stomporoswki. The fact that this has not existed until now is a failure of the politicians, she says, who have refused to accept suggestions from outside. The Minister for Education did not come off well at the rally. "The ministry has gambled itself away, and now we have these short-term measures," criticised trade unionist Haßelkus.

(Original text: Matthias Lorenz)

Christmas timetables for public transport

Stadtwerke Bonn has published its timetable for the upcoming holiday period. On Christmas Eve, 24 December, the Saturday timetable will apply until 7pm, after which the buses and trams will run according to the night timetable. On 25 and 26 December, all lines will run according to the Sunday and public holiday timetable. On New Year's Eve, 31 December, the Saturday timetable applies. On New Year's Day, 1 January 2021, all buses and trains will run according to the regular Sunday timetable.

Despite the corona pandemic and the associated restrictions, SWB points out that on New Year's Eve, the Kennedy Bridge could be closed "for safety reasons" and bus and train lines operating there would then be affected. All information about the individual SWB timetables from Sunday, 13 December can be found on the company's website.

  • The Rhein-Sieg-Verkehrsgesellschaft (RSVG) has made its special timetable for Christmas and New Year's Eve 2020/2021 available for download. On Christmas Eve, the Saturday timetable applies until 7 pm, after which the SB55 line will run hourly, and the other lines will stop at 7pm. On 25 and 26 December, the Sunday timetable will apply, and some night services will be cancelled. On New Year's Eve, the Saturday timetable applies with the cancellation of some night services. No taxi buses will run after 4pm on New Year's Eve. On New Year's Day, the Sunday timetable applies with the cancellation of some night services.
  • The Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe (KVB), which operates lines 16 and 18 in Bonn, has not yet published its timetable for Christmas and New Year.

(Original text: GA)

Mindfulness trail set up in Kottenforst

Walking in the forest encourages relaxation, promotes well-being and provides a break from today’s fast-paced life and a chance to enjoy the fresh air. Amid the corona pandemic, this is more important than ever before. The German Association for Forest Protection (Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald) has set up one of the first mindfulness trails in Germany in the Kottenforst. The approximately two-kilometre trail is intended to encourage walkers to focus on the present. It starts around 100 metres away from the Gezeiten Haus Klinik Bonn (Venner Straße 55) and ends not far from the forest hospital.

The trail contains eight information boards marking different exercise stages. Six of these include QR codes for audio files which provide walkers with instructions. Walkers are told to use their mobile phones exclusively for completing the training sessions and not to be distracted. According to experts, this is the only way to make the forest experience tangible in all the senses. Seeing, hearing and smelling, as well as breathing, feeling and conscious walking are all trained at the individual stations.

According to the trail’s developers, the mindfulness and concentration exercises create a bond with the forest and help to train sensory perception. Focusing your attention and blocking out everything else – this is the basic principle of numerous spiritual practices that help forget about the routine of everyday life for the moment. Seemingly ordinary things in the forest like leaves, moss, mushrooms or a robin on a branch gain meaning and appear from a whole new perspective when walkers visually focus on them. The smell of the blossoms, cones or soil are also experienced differently when consciously perceived by the nose.

(Original text: Abir Kassis)

Drive-in street food festival

The first drive-in street food festival is being held this weekend at the Basketsring on the Brüser Berg, between the Telekom Dome and Edeka supermarket. Nine stalls are providing a wide culinary selection to visitors - in compliance with corona regulations.

The festival is being run by the event agency WEvent, who organises street food festivals in Niederkassel and has already put on three drive-ins there this year. Nine different stands offer a variety of food including Allgäu cheese spaetzle, deep-fried burgers, North African flaky pastry wraps, pizza, jacket potatoes, party burgers, churros, poffertjes and so-called ‘Paradice rolls’ which are Thai-style ice cream rolls. To prevent too many cars from entering at the same time, visitors are asked to firstly go to a waiting area where they can consult the menu. Face coverings, distancing and hygiene measures with gloves and disinfectant are of course all part of the visit.

Jürgen and Lena had driven to the festival and were waiting for poffertjes. You have to wait because everything is freshly prepared - street food is not fast food. "We really like the idea," they said. They were surprised that there was so little publicity. Information could be found on social media and in newspapers, but there were no posters. Ramon Wiener from WEvent explained: they were only allowed to put up 20 posters, too few for a city the size of Bonn. "And we waited a little longer for permission from the city of Bonn and didn't want to print any posters before then.”

The fact that you have to drive across the "field" to wait bothered Jürgen and Viktoria, but that was the only thing. The two live nearby and found the idea commendable. "This should be here all year round." It is especially good in the current situation, he said. "After all, people have their businesses and have to survive." He said there is a restaurant owner in his family who also needs to get creative at the moment. That's why he was happy to support the vendors at the drive-in. "It's just a stupid time right now."

Christoph Aschemeier and Maggy Faßbender, whose Allgäu VW bus is usually found at company catering events, also found this to be the case. Everything fell through in 2020, and their restaurant in the Allgäu region is closed. "I was lucky that we were allowed to continue with the bus and that’s why I’m so pleased about events like this,” Aschemeier said.

The drive-in at Basketsring is also open from noon to 8pm this Sunday.

(Original text: Stefan Klopp)

Astronomy on Tap

Astronomy on Tap Bonn organises a regular monthly event of public astronomy talks at the Fiddlers pub in Bonn-Endenich. The group is going virtual due to #covid-19 restrictions on public life and the next live event will be held on Tuesday 15th December at 19:00 on YouTube. This month’s talks are 1) Britta Schaefer on "Sky glows - clouds at the border between atmosphere and space", and 2) Dr. Abel Schootemeijer on "The brightest objects in the Universe: what are we looking at?"

The event includes a live quiz and one lucky winner will receive a super astro prize via mail. For more information, you can follow the group on Facebook & YouTube (Astronomy on Tap Bonn) and Instagram & Twitter (@aotbonn) or drop email to AoTBonn@gmail.com. For the live event on Tuesday, visit: YouTube.

(Translations: Caroline Kusch)