Berlin (dpa) – The abolition of the compulsory mask in schools is a strong argument in the face of the growing number of infections. The president of the professional association of pediatricians, Thomas Fischbach, spoke in favor of the repeal.
“I think a general pursuit of a mask requirement in schools is inappropriate,” Fischbach told newspapers from the Funke media group. Medical President Klaus Reinhardt made a similar statement. Experts like virologist Melanie Brinkmann have cautioned against this, however.
The week-long decline in infections appears to be over. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the incidence over seven days increased slightly for the fourth consecutive day: to 64.4 new infections per 100,000 population per week. The previous day the value was 64.3, a week ago it was 60.6 (previous month: 76.9).
Fischbach of the Association of Pediatricians and Adolescents said he sees no reason why elementary school students should continue to wear masks in class, especially since they contribute much less to the infection process than they do. adolescents and adults. The decision should be based on the incidence values and the age of the children. It could not be that the youngest “continue to be expected by society to wear masks in order to show consideration for those who refuse to be vaccinated.”
Medical President Reinhardt told the German Editorial Network: “It is totally inappropriate that children and young people have to wear a mask for hours in class, while adults can go to the pub in the evening without a mask.” However, in many places distance and testing rules are stricter in the restaurant business than in schools.
In Bavaria, for example, the mask requirement is to be removed in class from next week. Such an approach is also envisaged in the near future in Baden-Württemberg and Saxony. In Saarland, it is generally no longer necessary to wear a mask at school since Friday. In Berlin schools, it is kept until the sixth year. This is already the case in Brandenburg.
German teachers’ association is skeptical
The German Teachers Association was skeptical of the approach, and the VBE education union also called for caution. According to data from the RKI, the coronavirus is particularly severe in preschool children and adolescents up to 19 years old. SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach last warned of a crown wave in fall and winter.
The question of the risk to children and adolescents from Covid-19 has been debated for a long time. Advocates of stricter school safety measures argue that children could also become seriously ill and point to possible long-term consequences (“long covid”).
Pediatricians, on the other hand, announced less stringent measures in an open letter in early September: There was scientific consensus that children and adolescents themselves rarely get seriously ill and usually recover quickly.
Virologist Melanie Brinkmann of the Braunschweig Helmholtz Center for Infection Research believes that the abolition of the mask requirement in schools is premature. “If you want to get rid of something that has been scientifically proven to help and costs next to nothing, you can do it. The only question is whether it is wise, ”she told the“ Rheinische Post ”. “Considering the high number of unvaccinated people, including children, I consider this decision premature – and, to be honest, quite stupid.”