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The Mask in Schools: A “Wide Range” of Parents’ Opinions

The remnants of mask requirements in schools are causing discussions among parents. Some associations are calling for an immediate exit, while others are willing to wait until then. There is a “wide range of opinions” among parents on this issue, Christoph Drexler, president of the Federal Parents’ Association of Middle and High Schools, said briefly in “Wiener Zeitung” (Tuesday’s edition).

Today, lessons have started again in many schools after the Easter holidays, and some still have a separate school day. The rules of the mask have not changed despite the dilution in other areas of life at the school.

It is not necessary to wear a mask for most of the school day – it is not mandatory in class or in studies and gyms. In the corridors, in the toilet and in the dining room (except when eating), however, pupils up to the lower grades should wear mouth and nose protection, and the elderly should wear an FFP2 mask. In addition, managers can impose stricter rules for a limited period of time in the event of a backlog of infections.

At the weekend, the Vienna State Assembly of Parents’ Associations in compulsory public educational institutions called for an end to the mask requirement. It is incomprehensible why a mask should not be worn on occasions, for example, but at school it is.

Several petitions from parents circulate

Meanwhile, several petitions are circulating from parents, to demand stricter mask rules (among other points like more CoV testing). The head of the umbrella organization for associations of parents in compulsory schools, Evelyn Comiter, has appealed for her role in Ö1-Mittagsjournal for a “security phase” for two weeks after the Easter holiday.

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In this case, the mask must continue to be worn in the corridors and the tests must also be taken twice a week (instead of just once as currently planned). Only then should you completely do without the mask.

Drexler took a somewhat pragmatic view of the situation in light of the parents’ differing opinions. For him, improving the psychological state of students is a priority. Mask requirements will fall out in the coming weeks anyway. “It will be even more important to us that children and young people enjoy learning again.” In his impression, much of the motivation to learn has been lost two years after the pandemic.

The Ministry of Education did not want to specify a specific time for the full status of the mask requirement. For now, the APA said, there will be no changes. We are monitoring the situation and will respond if necessary.