Bonn Children are back to school in Bonn and the first cases of coronavirus have already been reported. A teacher at a primary school has tested positive. The City of Bonn has closed down a daycare facility until further notice.
City spokeswoman Monika Hörig reported on Friday afternoon that a teacher for the parent initiative group Power Pänz in Oberkassel had fallen ill. The families of the 36 children in the daycare and the eight staff members are currently being contacted and coronavirus testing taking place. The city decided to close the daycare center (Kita) until further notice.
A teacher at the Carl Schurz Elementary School in Tannenbusch also tested positive for coronavirus. Since she was wearing a mask while teaching over two days, her infection had no further repercussions for the school, the city said. "Because of that, the pupils in her class are considered second degree contact persons", explained Hörig.
Coronavirus test at Bonn school was negative
In contrast, the test result in a suspected case at a secondary school in Bonn was negative, according to the city spokeswoman. As reported, the student had worn a mask in school. After she had shown symptoms, the public health department ordered her to have a test which took place on Thursday. The negative test result came back on Friday.
Generally, students at secondary schools have been required to wear masks during their lessons since returning to school on Wednesday. Primary school pupils can remove the masks at their desks. The NRW Ministry of Education has explained to the schools how to proceed in the event of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. When an infection has been confirmed, the school management is to contact the local health authorities and discuss the next steps. "That's where the medical experts are situated," said Eike Schultz, spokesperson for Bonn secondary schools. If coronavirus symptoms appear in students or teachers during lessons, they are to be removed from class and asked to contact their family doctor, Schultz said. In the case of younger children, the NRW School Ministry said that the parents should be informed.
Bonn wants to deal with each case on an individual basis
City spokeswoman Hörig says they will continue with the current course of action for daycares and schools when it comes to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 : Initiate quarantine, find out who the contact persons are, and possibly do additional testing. Whether classes are sent into quarantine or even whole schools are closed depends on the individual case, i.e. the proximity of the infected person(s) to others, says Hörig. In the end, the city corona crisis task force would have the last word on such decisions. Even in quarantine, however, lessons would take place, "but it would be distance learning".
There have already been schools affected by confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NRW. In Viersen, for example, a teacher tested positive at the beginning of the week. As a result, the health department ordered quarantine for the entire teaching staff. The school will remain closed until August 28.
Starting on Monday, daycare centers in the Bonn area should be resuming with the normal opening hours. Parents will again be able to put their children in daycare for up to 45 hours a week. Until now, pandemic-related limited operating hours were in effect. Increasing the number of hours again could become problematic. "As the Employee Advisory Council, we are keeping an eye on the strained personnel situation in the daycare centers with concern", said its chairman Christoph Busch.
Daycare centers in Bonn will likely have to reduce opening hours because of coronavirus
Despite efforts by the Office for Children, Youth and Family Bonn to find additional staff, many posts have been vacant for a long time. Deputy city spokesman Marc Hoffmann explained: "It must be expected that several public daycare facilities will have to reduce opening hours next week. It is not yet possible to give more precise information, "because most daycare centers have only just started up again after the holidays, and for one thing, it isn’t clear whether all parents will bring their children to the daycare centers again.”
In the 70 city-operated daycare centers, 32 employees are currently unable to work because they are at an increased risk of infection. Other employees from the total of 1000 daycare center staff are unable to work due to illness or pregnancy. The city has advertised 52 full-time positions and 25 part-time positions for its daycare centers. Deputy spokesman Hoffman said part of the reason those numbers are so high is the Child Education Act which took effect on August 1 and stipulates more staff for daycares. The city has also applied for state funding for additional help in the daycare centers. 17 university students have been hired to offer support to the staff and help with hygiene measures.
(Orig. text: Philipp Königs / Translation: ck)