Austria rolls out new Covid quarantine rules for schools

Austria rolls out new Covid quarantine rules for schools
As students and teachers across Austria settle into the new school year, the quarantine measure for children have been adjusted.

The Covid-19 quarantine rule for school children has been reduced from ten days to five.

Martin Netzer, General Secretary in the Ministry of Education, announced that only those sitting next to a child with a positive test result have to be quarantined with the option to “test yourself free” after five days through a PCR test.

Education Minister Heinz Faßmann had recently campaigned for a shortening of the quarantine period in schools.

The change in the nationwide rules is to ensure a more stable school environment for children to reduce the impact of Covid-19 measures on education.

On Monday, school resumed in Upper Austria, Salzburg, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Carinthia and Styria with an initial three-week safety phase. 

During the safety phase, three tests per week are compulsory, one of which must be a PCR test. Politicians are working on nationwide corona measures for classes.

READ ALSO: A full overview of the new Covid-19 measures for schools can be found here

Already 285 classes in Vienna under quarantine

Last week in Vienna schools returned after the summer break and the Kronen Zeitung reports there are already 285 classes in the city under quarantine measures.

This is despite Education City Councillor Christoph Wiederkehr (NEOS) mandating two compulsory PCR tests each week for staff and students in the capital, in comparison to the once-a-week PCR test rule for the rest of the country.

READ MORE: ‘Ninja tests’: What are Austria’s coronavirus sticker book tests for children?

Problems were also reported with the “everything gurgles” Covid-19 testing system after the server for registering the test results was not available on Monday morning (13th September).

‘Discomfort and insecurity’ in Vienna

The Kurier reports that at the start of the school year last week, 32 student representatives from grammar schools in Vienna wrote an open letter to describe the situation in schools.

The letter said there was “discomfort and insecurity” in schools and they expected closures as a result of the current measures.

The group wrote: “Our concerns are skilfully ignored, constant pressure to perform is maintained. The solidarity that we showed towards the elderly at the beginning of the pandemic is now not shown to us.”

The group cited Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and called for compulsory vaccination of kindergarten and elementary school staff to protect students, the purchase of air filters for schools and the return of the FFP2 mask requirement in school buildings.

EXPLAINED: What are Austria’s tighter Covid measures ‘for the unvaccinated’?

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