Bonn Bonn's Mayor Dörner hopes for a refund of paid childcare fees at least for January. In addition, the coronavirus crisis unit also discussed the extension of the holiday schedule of the municipal utilities.
Bonn's mayor, Katja Dörner, was not entirely happy on Thursday about the details of the North Rhine-Westphalian state government's decision to leave it open to parents whether they place their children in childcare. "I would have liked to see a clear regulation for kindergartens as well, combined with emergency care based on the needs of parents," Dörner said. At the same time, she stressed that there must be a clear regulation on the reimbursement of parental contributions. The municipal umbrella organisations are in talks with the state about this, she said.
In Düsseldorf on Thursday, NRW Family Minister Joachim Stamp (FDP) thought that the prospect of a refund was likely. However, Dörner was sceptical that this will take place retroactively for the month of December. In principle, however, the mayor called on parents to care for their children at home whenever possible. Employers are called upon to allow flexible worktime models. The city administration is setting a good example here.
A reduction in the number of hours of childcare in Kitas is probably inevitable
As Bonn's head of family affairs Carolin Krause said at the coronavirus crisis unit press conference, the new rules until January 31 posed enormous challenges for the city. As reported, parents can place their children in care without further screening. In kindergartens, this is done in groups, "which is very staff-intensive," Krause said. Therefore, it is probably inevitable that the number of hours of care in city Kitas will be reduced by ten hours, as the state envisages.
Exceptions to distance learning only in individual cases
There remain huge uncertainties as far as schools are concerned, according to the department head. In principle, all schools began distance learning as of Monday. In exceptional cases, however, schools are still allowed to provide face-to-face instruction. In addition, emergency care in grades one to six and for special needs students can take place. These students would be cared for on-site at the facilities, but would be taught in the same way as their classmates in face-to-face classes, i.e., via assignments provided by teachers over the internet.
Krause could not yet say in detail how this care would be provided in the schools. This might involve other personnel. Apparently, Krause said, this could also be teachers. At the open all-day schools (the OGS) the OGS question were raised regarding the supervisors, "but they have no contracts with the schools, but only with the respective OGS". Krause emphasised that parents who have not yet made use of an OGS place could also make use of this type of care.
Buses and trains will run according to the holiday schedule from Monday
Stadtwerke spokeswoman Veronika John said buses and trains would run according to the holiday timetable from Monday. The transport company will, however, maintain certain routes, such as to the Venusberg. Reserve buses would also be available for use, she said, because it was currently uncertain how many parents would make use of the childcare services. According to John, "We remain in discussion with the city."
Hopes for faster vaccinations at old people’s homes
The city is hoping to accelerate rate of coronavirus vaccinations in old people’s homes and nursing homes. The state and the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians have a duty to ensure that the process runs smoothly and is implemented quickly. "However, I also understand the huge logistics that the state government, which organises the vaccination together with the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, must face in the face of this gigantic task," the mayor explained.
According to information from the city, 525 people had been vaccinated in five old people’s homes by January 2. "Reserve vaccine doses available at short notice will be used, among other things, to vaccinate emergency service personnel. To date, this has been done in six cases," reported Jochen Stein, head of fire and rescue services. In the third week of January, a letter from the state and the city will be sent to all people over 80 years of age in Bonn, which will provide information about the vaccination and its procedure. The vaccination centre at the World Conference Center Bonn is expected to begin operation in early February, he said.