Covid-19: First Austrian state relaxes test and mask rules in schools

The Local Austria
The Local Austria - [email protected]
Covid-19: First Austrian state relaxes test and mask rules in schools
Students with face masks enter their classroom at the Petri primary school in Dortmund, western Germany, on August 12, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Schools in the western federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia re-started under strict health guidelines after the summer holidays. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

Voralberg has become the first Austrian state to relax its rules on mask-wearing and testing in schools, as of Monday October 11th.


"Vorarlberg is once again a pilot region where normalization steps are being tested and carefully monitored," the region said in a statement announcing the changes.


Under the new rules, children and teachers will not have to wear masks in school, and antigen tests for students will now be carried out on a voluntary basis, whereas previously they were carried out three times weekly.

The voluntary test offering means children can still use the tests for the so-called 'Ninja pass', which is required for those aged over 12 to enter restaurants and other venues under the 3G rule.

However, teachers who have not been vaccinated will see no change in the testing regulations and therefore still need to show a negative PCR test once a week.

External visitors will need to adhere to the 3G rule and to wear a face mask during the entire time they are in the school.


The change comes due to the low seven-day incidence in the region and the comparatively low rate of Covid-19 patients in the intensive care units. 

But if a school suspects an outbreak due to the results of voluntary tests or tests carried out outside the school, there is still the option to introduce a temporary test or mask mandate for specific classes for up to one week. This requires asking the region's educational board for approval. And schools which are carrying out tests as part of sentinel testing will continue to do so, to help the region identify potential outbreaks at an early stage.

Back in spring, the western state of Vorarlberg became the first to re-open pubs and restaurants, as well as relaxing event rules, due to its comparatively low infection rate. 

"Vorarlberg will thus become a model region again," state governor Barbara Schöbi-Fink said in response to the Coronavirus Commission's decision last Thursday to classify Voralberg as risk level one, which allows the changes in schools to go ahead.

However, Schöbi-Fink said it was still recommended that everyone get tested for Covid-19 regularly as part of nationwide efforts to curb the spread of infection.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Theclub 2021/10/22 20:39
Where can i find covid info, vacination rates, covid infections etc. by each of the nine federated states? We will be travelling to Vorarlberg and the Zillertal area and Saalbach.
  • catherine.edwards 2021/10/28 11:42
    Hi Bruce, I would recommend these two dashboards provided by Austrian authorities: and You can of course also follow The Local's updates in English, which you will find all in one place at It's always helpful to hear reader feedback of what you would like us to include in these so that we can make them more helpful for you. Catherine

See Also