Representatives of parent and teacher associations are calling for far-reaching preparations for the reopening of schools and daycare centers, especially after the summer holidays. Until then, the Federal Parent Council chairman Stephan Wassmuth considered the return to normal operation as unlikely. "We have to assume that the distance rules will continue to apply after the holidays," he said. Other buildings should be used for classroom instruction, such as "club houses, community event rooms, conference centers, conference rooms in hotels or even exhibition halls".

In addition, the coming weeks would have to be used to enable all teachers to use digital systems and teach online. Training could take place during the summer holidays.

According to the teacher association president Heinz-Peter Meidinger, there must be clear guidelines for distance learning. "As long as the schools are not back in normal operation, but also in the event of a second wave of infection, we need clear rules for home schooling," he told newspapers of the Funke media group. In addition, there would be a compulsory presence for video calls with the teachers, an obligation to complete tasks and a uniform regulation for the allocation of grades.

It is already foreseeable that there will be a "spread" in the performance of the students. "There are children who have no deficits, and there are others who have had a practically broadcast break for eight weeks." The summer vacation should be used to systematically support underperforming and disadvantaged children. However, this is only possible on a voluntary basis and in turn could not reach the children concerned. "If there is still a change from face-to-face and digital distance learning, these children should be exempted from this. They need permanent face-to-face lessons so that they do not fall behind." 

Health protection against relief for parents

The chairwoman of the Education and Science Union (GEW) sees a conflict in the decision to reopen. "On the one hand, society wants to protect itself from a pandemic, on the other hand, it should enable parents to work," she told the Passauer Neue Presse . However, classrooms are too small to keep the necessary distance and ventilation options are not available everywhere. Health protection comes first.

First federal states with regular operations

Saxony is the first federal state to open elementary schools and day care centers in restricted regular operation, the groups and classes are to be separated from each other. In Schleswig-Holstein, from June 8, all primary school children will go to school without distance rules. The type of opening after the summer vacation remains controversial.

In Saxony-Anhalt, elementary school students are to start learning in full classes again from mid-June. In Baden-Württemberg, this is planned from the end of June. Schools and childcare facilities were closed uniformly in mid-March, and responsibility for opening them lies with the respective federal states. 

Stefanie Hubig (SPD), President of the Conference of Ministers of Education for the Länder and Rhineland-Palatinate Minister of Education, told the taz that there is an urgent desire in all federal states to return to greater normalcy. "Basically, our way is the same: If possible, normal operation should take place in the schools after the summer holidays." According to Hubig, the state education ministers would exchange ideas in the coming week to abolish the corona measures.