1. GA-English
  2. News

Click & Meet system to stay for the time being: Schools in the Rhine-Sieg district to go to distance learning

Click & Meet system to stay for the time being : Schools in the Rhine-Sieg district to go to distance learning

The Rhein-Sieg district has asked the state to be allowed to close its schools. At the same time, the crisis team decided not to implement any further restrictions, for example in the retail sector. Meanwhile, Sankt Augustin has to deal with several corona outbreaks.

Schools in the Rhein-Sieg district are to close and only conduct distance learning. Exemptions from this, as in Bonn, are to be the final classes and qualification phases of the gymnasiale Oberstufe. "Since the Rhine-Sieg district is in many respects very closely intertwined with the city of Bonn, we are currently having the responsible state ministry examine whether it would make sense to align ourselves with the federal city of Bonn in terms of school and daycare regulations, even though the incidence in the Rhine-Sieg district is still well away from the 200 mark," explains District Administrator Sebastian Schuster.

Previously, municipalities in the Rhein-Sieg district had suggested this approach to the district. "We have to go into distance teaching as soon as possible," said the school department head of the city of Sankt Augustin, Ali Dogan, at a press conference with Mayor Max Leitterstorf. "There are families whose children attend schools in both Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg district. In addition, we have more and more positive corona cases from teachers and students from high schools, which is of concern to us," Dogan said. "Our most important goal is to make sure that the graduating classes and the high school diploma are secured."

Enquiry to Ministry of Education

If the ministry agrees with the district's request, schools in the Rhine-Sieg district, with the exception of graduating classes, could move to distance learning, and daycare centers could move to limited pandemic operations. "In the case of the Kitas, this would mean separating the groups in permanently assigned rooms and reducing the weekly care time by ten hours compared to normal operation. In order to anchor the regulations legally, the Rhein-Sieg district would have to issue a general decree," the district administrator said.

Virus mutants cause concern

Mayor Leitterstorf and the school department Dogan particularly concerned about the virus mutants, because these are not only more dangerous, but also faster transmissible. The Robert Koch Institute had tightened its guideline for the determination of contact persons 1 two weeks ago. According to it, even those who are in a closed room with an infected person for more than ten minutes would have to be sent to quarantine. "Already the testing procedure in classes, after all, takes longer than ten minutes. So the consequence would then be that the whole class would have to be quarantined."

No presence service

The city of Sankt Augustin also wants to approach all religious communities and ask them to dispense with attendance at services. City Council committee meetings are to be held exclusively online.

"Broken down to Sankt Augustin in particular, we have an incidence of more than 200," Leitterstorf said. In addition, he said, there are "multiple, clustered outbreaks" in the city area. Leitterstorf: "The situation is serious.“

CDE and monastery under quarantine

As reported, there is a major outbreak at the state's Central Accommodation Facility (ZUE) in Sankt Augustin. 248 people currently live in the shelter, which is designed for 600 to 700 residents. 17 tested positive last week, with seven tests still pending. "There is no new status," said a spokeswoman for the district government in Cologne. On Wednesday, the health department's swab team will conduct a full test, she said. The CDE is completely quarantined, Dogan said. Employees of the public order office supported the operating company on site.

Also under full quarantine are the approximately 100 monks of the Steyl monastery. Three infected persons have been isolated there, two of them kitchen staff. Food is therefore currently being provided by a home for the elderly. The city has provided the monastery with 1000 FFP2 masks and self-tests, Leitterstorf said.

"We are still ahead of the situation, but we know from last year that it can change quickly," Dogan said. Last May, the outbreak at the CDE began with three infected people; a week later, there were 200.

County crisis team meets

Meanwhile, the county does not want to tighten the corona restrictions any further. "We have intensively weighed the various options for action in the crisis team," explained District Administrator Sebastian Schuster. "However, since the seven-day incidence in the Rhine-Sieg district is currently stable between 120 and 135 and we expect the federal emergency brake to come into effect shortly, we have decided not to order any further tightening for the time being."

As is well known, since Maundy Thursday, April 1, the emergency brake has been in effect in the Rhine-Sieg district, which the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MAGS) had ordered due to the incidence values. With the emergency brake, stricter contact conditions apply. Contacts are only allowed between a household and a maximum of one other person. Children under 14 are not included.

At the same time, the Rhein-Sieg district had cushioned the emergency brake by making use of the so-called test option. "The legal framework for this is created on the basis of the Corona Protection Ordinance by the corresponding general decree, which also came into force on April 1," says Schuster. It allows - in the case of a confirmed rapid test with a negative result that is no more than 24 hours old - the further openings that came into force on March 8 will continue to apply. "Click & Meet" thus remains possible at retail outlets that are not privileged by the sale of essential goods for daily use, in the event of a negative rapid test on the day, Schuster said. This also applies, for example, to body-related services or visits to libraries or museums.

Original text: Dylan Cem Akalin
Translation: Mareike Graepel