The Christmas holidays for around 160,000 schoolchildren and 13,500 teachers in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania begin on Thursday. At the start of the almost two-week break, Minister of Education Simone Oldenburg (left) wished everyone a peaceful and relaxing Christmas with their families. “Above all, I wish you a healthy start to the new year 2023,” emphasized the minister in a statement distributed in Schwerin on Wednesday.

For several weeks now, the persistently high number of staff absences due to illness has been affecting the guarantee of school lessons. In addition to Corona, the main reason for this was a drastic increase in the number of cases of conventional respiratory diseases. According to Oldenburg’s estimates, about a third of the teachers on average were absent due to their own illness or the illness of family members in need of care.

The ministry reacted to this shortly before the holidays and expanded the three-phase model developed for the Corona crisis. According to this, depending on the availability of the teachers, schools can also go into distance or alternating lessons from grade seven onwards and, in extreme cases, only provide emergency care in the school for younger pupils.

“With the start of school after the public holidays on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, the temporarily extended application of the proven phase model applies. This allows each school to react individually to the daily changing circumstances and make new decisions every day in order to maintain face-to-face teaching,” explained the minister.

In addition, an event-related test obligation also applies to school attendance after the Christmas holidays if Covid 19 symptoms are present. For this purpose, the schools were equipped with self-tests, which were distributed to the students. However, the number of new infections registered in children and adolescents is currently significantly lower than in spring. In March, the seven-day incidence among 0 to 17-year-olds was just under 5,000 new infections per 100,000 people, currently around 120.