More than 30 degrees in the classroom? „Hitzefrei“ is possible at schools in Bonn from Wednesday

Bonn · When classes start again on Wednesday, they could also be over quickly again: headmasters are allowed to decide only on the day whether there will be „Hitzefrei“ days. The comprehensive school in Kessenich will start with shorter classes.

 Children walk in front of a blackboard with the inscription "Hitzefrei".

Children walk in front of a blackboard with the inscription "Hitzefrei".

Foto: dpa/picture alliance / dpa

On Wednesday school lessons will start again in Bonn. It cannot be ruled out that, in the first few days, secondary schools will only return in a limited fashion at least, with high temperatures predicted for Wednesday and Thursday. The North Rhine-Westphalian ministry of education regulates „Hitzefrei“ in the "Bereinigte Amtliche Sammlung der Schulvorschriften“.

There it says that at expected temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius and above in the classrooms, it is at the discretion of the school management to send pupils of the lower secondary level home. Such regulations do not exist for older school pupils. Pupils in the fifth and sixth grades may only be sent home by the schools after prior consultation with their parents.

Restricted lessons or shortened school hours

On Monday afternoon, the headmaster of the Karl Simrock Secondary School in Endenich, Arndt Hilse, and the principal of the Tannenbusch Gymasium, Eike Schultz, reported on temperatures above the 30 degree mark in the rooms. Hilse explained that his school measures the temperature at around 10 a.m. every day and then decides whether the school gets „hitzefrei“. He is currently expecting limited classes initially.

Schultz, spokesman for the Bonn high schools, thinks it is possible that he will decide differently in Tannenbusch from building wing to building wing. There is an inquiry in progress with the public health department as to whether the use of ventilators is permitted. It is unclear in expert circles whether the virus aerosols are distributed in the air in such a way that the risk of infection with the coronavirus increases.

The requirement of the Ministry of Education that teachers and pupils at secondary schools wear a mouth and nose protector during lessons could prove to be problematic. Schultz emphasises that the decision should be made by the school principals themselves on the day and not days in advance.

Number of buses increased for start of school

The Gesamtschule Bonns Fünfte in Kessenich plans to start with a short lesson plan until 11.30 am. "We want to achieve that at least every subject can take place in a shortened form, also to compensate for the corona failures of the months before the holidays", said headmistress Ursula Dreeser. The German Association of Cities and Towns had called on the state government to relax the existing "hitzefrei" regulations because of the compulsory wearing of masks. Düsseldorf authorities left an inquiry about this unanswered on Monday.

The Bonn public utilities and the city announced that, at the start of classes, the number of buses used on busy routes would be increased. "This applies especially to secondary school students." Some schools would have staggered their lesson times to spread out the number of pupils travelling to and from school. For many schools, however, this was not feasible in organisational terms, the city announced.

(Original text: Philipp Königs; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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