Bonn Schools in Bonn are to stay closed due to rising numbers in corona infections. According to the city authorities, as of Monday all schools in the city will offer distance learning only. In addition, further corona rules will be tightened in Bonn.
The city authorities announced on Facebook on Saturday evening that Bonn schools will stick to distance learning due to the increasing number of corona infections. As of Monday, classrooms will remain empty. The final classes and qualification phases for the senior level at gymnasiums are excluded.
“The extension of distance learning is unquestionably a further burden on parents, schools and especially the children, which I very much regret. In our view, however, it is an important measure to prevent further infection in the current circumstances,” said Mayor Katja Dörner on Sunday. Due to the increasing incidence rates, the city sees no other option than to tighten the existing measures. On Sunday, the seven-day incidence rate in Bonn rose sharply again. According to the city authorities, the current rate is 196.3, only slightly below the 200 mark. On Saturday, the incidence rate was at 186.5, on Friday 179, and on Thursday 162.
On Friday, the municipal crisis team had announced stricter corona measures in view of the high incidence rate in Bonn. Even before the weekend, it was announced that all schools and nurseries are to close again and that only emergency childcare would be available.
According to GA information, the decisive factor for the swift decision was the high incidence rate in the five to 14-year-old age group. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the incidence rate for this age group in the city area of Bonn was 259 on Friday, which is still significantly above the average rate in Bonn.
Final classes can prepare for exams
Students in the final year at general education schools, vocational colleges and special schools, as well as those in the corresponding semesters in Realschule and Gymnasium programmes at further education colleges are able to prepare for their exams in face-to-face classes. The same procedure applies to the qualification phases for the senior level at Gymnasiums and vocational Gymnasiums and for courses at further education colleges. For grades 1 to 6, as well as at special schools focusing on mental development and physical and motor development, the school can provide emergency care at the request of the parents.
The regulations for distance learning are laid down in a general decree that the city, in consultation with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, formally published in the Amtsblatt (official gazette) on Sunday. The decree comes into force on Monday.
Day care centres will not be shut
Meanwhile, the state government did not agree to the proposed closure of day care centres (kitas) in Bonn. According to the press release, Mayor Katja Dörner regrets this decision and at the same time repeated her urgent appeal to parents not to send their children to day care centres if possible. Companies in Bonn should also allow their employees to work at home wherever feasible.
Bonn retail trade must close again
Bonn is also tightening further rules in the fight against coronavirus: The retail sector is returning to lockdown from Monday. Entering shops with a negative test result is no longer possible in Bonn. As part of state’s emergency brake, these shops are only allowed to offer “click and collect” services, i.e. picking up pre-ordered goods. Only grocery shops, drugstores, chemists and all shops that offer goods for daily needs and that were previously allowed to be entered without a negative test result will remain open. However, there are no plans to introduce a curfew, as has been in force in Cologne since midnight on Friday. The Bonn crisis team recently announced that a curfew would not have much effect.
Services which require close personal contact and where a minimum distance of 1.5 metres to the customer cannot be maintained are prohibited in Bonn. Excluded from this are services that are medically required, hairdressing services, non-medical chiropody services and commercial passenger transport. A confirmed negative corona test is still required for visiting the hairdresser.
Cultural facilities also closed again
Museums, exhibitions and memorials are no longer allowed to open. The operation of libraries and archives is limited to the collection, delivery and return of media.
From Wednesday, anyone wishing to attend an appointment at the municipal authorities will also need a current negative test result. Mayor Katja Dörner also appealed to companies in Bonn to allow working from home wherever possible.
Incidence rate continues to rise
On Sunday, the seven-day incidence rate in Bonn rose sharply again: According to the city authorities, the current rate is 196.3, only slightly below the 200 mark. On Saturday, the incidence rate was at 186.5, on Friday 179, and on Thursday 162. The city recorded 647 new infections in the last seven days, with 958 people considered currently infected.
(Original text: Michael Wrobel, Translation: Caroline Kusch)