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The idea behind the Covid-measures in schools is to allow students to not wear masks in class

Austria went back to school - here are its Covid-measures

Austria went back to school - here are its Covid-measures

The students are going into their first three-week safety phase – a cautious middle-of-the-road approach that will help education authorities adapt to a changing situation

Today was the first day of the school year for much of Austria, as 650,000 kids and teenagers in Tyrol, Styria, Vorarlberg, Salzburg, Upper Austria and Carinthia enter the first three-week safety phase. During this time, students will go through three Covid-tests per week, one of which needs to be a PCR.

The government aims to use the safety phase to gauge the risks of children spreading the disease, as well as allowing for a cautious middle-of-the-road approach to determine the best practice going forward.

Rough start for the safety phase

The school year in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland started a week earlier with the pandemic safety phase causing massive chaos – around 450 children tested positive and 120 whole classes went into quarantine in Vienna alone.

The Minister of Education Heinz Faßmann spoke out in favour of adopting a more measured response instead of quarantining whole classes. He proposed that only children sitting next to the ones who tested positive should have to go into quarantine.

Furthermore, he posited the possibility that quarantined students should be allowed to return to class within just five days, assuming a negative test. The Ministry of Health is currently examining the situation they are supposed to come out with a decision within the week.

Testing, testing testing

The measures in Austria’s schools are centred around the idea of allowing students to not wear masks during class. They, however, will have to wear masks every time they leave the classroom. Covid-tests are available in the schools, but people can use any certificate from an authorised testing centre.

Parents wishing to accompany their kids to the classroom have to present a valid 3-G certificate and wear a mask inside the school building. The 3-G certificate is the German and Austrian policy for a Covid-pass, with the Gs standing for geimpft (vaccinated), genesen (recovered) and getestet (tested).

Here are the number of children going to school in each state:

  • Carinthia - 67,000 students;
  • Upper Austria – 195,000 students;
  • Salzburg – 73,600 students;
  • Styria – 141,000 students;
  • Tyrol – 95,000 students;
  • Vorarlberg – 54,300 students.

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