Coronavirus lockdown: Austria to decide on school reopenings on Wednesday

The Austrian government is set to decide on Wednesday when schools are set to reopen - and which schools will remain closed.

Coronavirus lockdown: Austria to decide on school reopenings on Wednesday
When will schools go back in Austria? Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Austria’s Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) said a decision will be made on when to reopen schools on Wednesday, January 13th. 

Currently, face-to-face lessons are set to start again on Monday, January 18th – however this date may be pushed back to January 25th, Der Standard reports

School started again in Austria on January 7th, but only through distance learning. 

UPDATED: What does Austria's coronavirus lockdown mean for schools? 

Faßmann told Austrian media that the plan is for all schools – including both compulsory schools and upper schools – to go back on either the 18th or the 25th of January. 

While face-to-face classes took place in December in compulsory schools, distance learning has been taking place in upper schools since the start of November. 

Testing for all students? 

As part of the reopening plan, Austria is also set to test all students at least once a week, Faßmann told Der Standard. 

Initially, the reopening plan will include testing once per week on Monday for all students. 

Eventually, this will be increased to twice a week. 

The Austrian government has procured five million tests at €2.70 per test to enable the school testing scheme to go ahead. 

Faßmann said that while all students would be strongly encouraged to be tested, testing would not be compulsory. 

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EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

Austria's capital city Vienna has begun registration appointments for those who want to get a monkeypox vaccine. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

As of September 9th, people can make reservations for monkeypox vaccination in Vienna, authorities announced. It is possible to register for the vaccine using the health service line by calling 1450 or via the Impfservice website.

The City of Vienna has said the pre-registration is needed because all planning will be done through a central system due to a shortage of vaccines.

“Please understand that due to the vaccine shortage, we cannot offer preventive monkeypox vaccination to everyone interested. We can use the reservation platform to quickly allocate available appointments and contact interested parties as soon as there are more vaccines”, the authorities said.

After the registration, people will be contacted to book appointments on September 14th. The first available date will be September 19th.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox in Austria: What causes it and is it serious?

Who should be vaccinated against monkeypox?

Vaccination of the general population is currently not recommended.

Preventive vaccination is only offered to health care workers with a very high risk of exposure to people with monkeypox (designated monkeypox departments/outpatient clinics/offices) and persons with individual risk behaviour (persons with frequently changing sexual contacts), the City of Vienna said.

The health authorities in Vienna also have a specific information sheet in English with more information on the disease.

Monkeypox is a notifiable disease caused by a virus closely related to the smallpox virus and which can cause a condition similar to smallpox but rarely deadly. People with immunodeficiencies, pregnant women and children are at risk of more severe symptoms.

The virus spreads from person to person through contact with infectious skin lesions, via air droplets through speaking, coughing, sneezing, or other body fluids, and when having prolonged and close physical contact, e.g. through sexual intercourse.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Usually, the first symptoms show up 5 to 14 days (at the latest, 21 days) after exposure. These include fever, general exhaustion, headaches, muscle and body aches, gastrointestinal problems and frequently painfully swollen lymph nodes.

“If you have symptoms and have had contact with someone with monkeypox, you must self-isolate at once and call 1450. If you have a confirmed monkeypox infection, you need to stay in self-isolation until the last crust has fallen off”, the Austrian authorities added.