Schools and kindergartens were again allowed to open from Monday, December 7th, after being closed during Austria’s strict lockdown
But do kids need to wear a mask – and can I keep my kids home if I am worried about them getting sick?
Here’s what you need to know.
Which schools went back on December 7th?
Compulsory schools and kindergartens went back on December 7th.
Compulsory schools include elementary schools, lower schools, middle schools and polytechnics.
Vocational schools, upper secondary schools and vocational middle and higher schools will stay in distance learning until Christmas, as will universities.
Do kids need to wear masks in schools?
Yes – but not in classrooms. In halls and other common areas, all children above the age of ten will need to wear masks.
District school authorities also have the power to put in place classroom mask requirements should infection rates continue to rise.
I am worried my child might get sick. Can I keep him or her at home?
Yes – but only in special schools. In Austrian special schools, kids who don’t attend school for reasons relating to the pandemic can be given permission to stay home, reports Kronen Zeitung.
In other schools, kids are still required to attend – however children with specific illnesses or conditions may be allowed to stay home provided an agreement is reached with the school authorities.
Will sports and physical education classes continue at schools?
Yes, although some changes will be put in place. Contact sports are no longer allowed, while physical education classes should take place outside where this is possible.
Schools are advised to prioritise coordination, strengthening and mobility exercises where possible.
What about singing?
While singing has been banned across Austria due to the coronavirus measures – other than in family settings – music lessons will be allowed to take place, although this will need to be outside if it involves singing.
For how long will these rules apply?
The current rules apply until December 23rd, at which time children will be on Christmas holidays.
The rules which are set to apply when school resumes are as yet unclear.
What other changes will take place?
Teaching in shifts and alternative classrooms – gyms and venues where greater social distance can be maintained – may be implemented in some cases.