Daily Host Nation Stories – September 8, 2020
Doubts raised over meeting new hygiene standards in schools
Doro Moritz, state chairwoman of the teachers’ union GEW, is critical of the corona protection measures in place for teachers and pupils in Baden-Württemberg. She fears that hygiene standards for many schools will be insufficient.
“Unfortunately, we anticipate that come September 14, the day when schools reopen, the prescribed hygiene standards will not be met in many of the 4,500 schools in the State,” Moritz said at a press conference in Stuttgart. So far, only twenty percent of the schools have the additional cleaning staff needed to meet the increased cleaning requirements caused by Corona.
Minister of Education Susanne Eisenmann (CDU) put in place stricter cleaning requirements for “hand contact surfaces” such as door handles, light switches, tables in the school canteens and the like. All these measures, as well as the requirement to vent the classrooms at least every 45 minutes, are meant to reduce the risk of infection. However, chairwoman Moritz criticized the nationwide renunciation of mandatory masks and the requirement for distance in lessons and sees this as contradictory to the rules of the Robert Koch Institute. Moritz favors an alternating schedule of classroom and distance (at home) learning. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sep 8)
Despite staff shortages daycare centers open again for all children
For many children, everyday life at the daycare center feels pretty normal again – despite Corona. Bernd Mattheis, the Deputy head of the Stuttgart Youth Welfare Office assures, “All children who are registered will get a place.” This was achieved with a lot of planning and organizational effort. However, there are some restrictions due to staff shortages, a problem which existed long before the pandemic. Due to Corona, municipal daycare centers report a current shortage of 30 teachers who are deemed high risk and can only be assigned administrative tasks. The state, however, has for years been short of close to 300 teachers, which reduces the amount of childcare spaces available. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sep 8)
Non-Corona related news:
Nationwide warning system test on Sept 10th at 11:00 am
On Thursday, Sept 10, at 11 a.m., Germany will test its national emergency warning system for the first time in decades. Church bells will chime, sirens will sound, text and phone alerts will be sent to citizens as well as tests of television and radio. The drill begins when the fire department activates the radio signal for the sirens to begin at 11 a.m. A final all-clear tone at 11.15. Guidance from the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) is to inform yourself and those around you and to keep calm. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sep 8)
Stuttgart cyclists pedal for the environment
On Monday, Winfried Hermann (Greens), Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Transport, together with Environment Mayor Peter Pätzold (also Green Party), gave the starting signal for the environmental campaign “City Cycling,” in which the state capital is participating for the fourth time. Over the next three weeks, cycling enthusiasts in Stuttgart will be able to collect kilometers of cycling in teams. These are tracked via an App and directly placed in a nationwide ranking. With almost 700,000 kilometers, Stuttgart came fourth nationwide last year. Pätzold hopes to beat this record this year. The chances are good, as on the first day of the campaign, 270 teams had already registered – a record result.
Mountain bikers look for exceptions
Demonstrations and discussions about who is allowed to do what in the forest, especially cyclists, has flared up again because the police are increasingly exercising control in the local forests. This has annoyed the mountain bike community and therefore, they protested on September 5th. Among other things, criticism was voiced about the two-meter rule in the forest law of the State of Baden-Württemberg. “The city cannot simply ignore this rule,” says Matthias Holzmann. The rule states that bicycles may only be on the road on forest paths that are at least two meters wide. However, mountain bikers like to take the narrower paths. “We are basically hoping for an amendment to this law,” says Herré. Until this comes, if it comes at all, the association is counting on exceptions. The city forest is criss-crossed by trails. Instead of a general ban, the cyclists would rather see a regulation in which bans are indicated for trails where they make sense. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Sep 8)