When do schools open again in Austria – and who needs to wear a mask?

When do schools open again in Austria - and who needs to wear a mask?
Students walk through a hall in Vienna. Photo: PATRICK DOMINGO / AFP
Face-to-face lessons were to take place from the 18th, but were repeatedly extended due to Austria’s lockdown. FFP2 masks will also be required for some, but not all, students.

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

The deadline for face-to-face lessons was pushed back to the 18th of January, before later being delayed until January 25th. 

Now, face-to-face lessons will not start until at least the 8th of February, with the deadline later in some states. 

The start date depends on when the semester break is in each state. 

UPDATED: What are the rules of Austria's coronavirus lockdown? 

From January 25th, Austria will tighten its mask rules to require FFP2 masks where previously cotton masks were suitable. 

As with public transport, all children aged 14 and over must wear masks according to the new rules. 

Here’s when classes go back in each Austrian state. 

Vienna and Lower Austria

Schools in Vienna and Lower Austria can again go back from the 8th of February. 

This is because the semester break in these two states takes place in the first week of February, meaning that distance learning classes will end on January 29th and face-to-face lessons start again on February 8th. 

Burgenland, Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg

Classes will go back on the 15th of February in these states. 

In these states, the Semester break takes place in the second week of February, meaning that schools can start again with face to face lessons from the 15th. 

There is a semester break in Burgenland, Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg in the second week of February. 

Styria 

The situation remains uncertain in Styria, although at this stage schools are scheduled to go back on the 15th of February. 

In normal years in Styria and Upper Austria, the semester break takes place in the third week of February – which would mean that students in these states would go back for one week and then have one week off. 

This year, the semester break in these two states has been moved forward to the second week due to the pandemic, although parents in Styria are challenging the decision. 

“The parents of underage minors of the Styrian politics are completely irrelevant”, it said in a broadcast

“A fact-based, epidemiological reason for bringing the semester break forward in Styria is completely missing.”

Masks from 14 years and up

From January 25th, FFP2 masks will be required in public transport, shops – and in schools. 

Education Minister Heinz Faßmann told Austrian media that the requirement in schools will apply to students 14 and over – the same age for public transport and shops. 

“We are adapting to the regulations in public transport. Everyone over the age of 14 must wear FFP2 masks there, so that's how we will do it in school.”

“Elementary school students and children in middle school and lower grades do not have to wear FFP2 masks.”

'Triple safety net'

In order to minimise infections, Austria has adopted a 'triple safety net' comprising of three measures to cut infection risks. 

This includes requiring masks, carrying out regular testing and organising lessons in shifts. 

Schools will be organised in two shifts, with half of the students coming to school on Monday and the other half on Tuesday. Parents are urged to contact specific schools for more information. 

Testing for all students

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

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. 

More information about the testing requirement is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How Austria plans to test all school children to end coronavirus lockdown 

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

The deadline for face-to-face lessons was pushed back to the 18th of January, before later being delayed until January 25th. 


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