Rule changes: School attendance in Austria to become obligatory again

From next week, it will be compulsory for children in Austria to attend in-school lessons again as more Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Rule changes: School attendance in Austria to become obligatory again
From Monday, school attendance will be compulsory again for children in Austria. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Distance learning will come to an end from Monday when it will once again be obligatory for children in Austria to attend school.

This means that parents will need to provide a doctor’s note or ask for permission if they want to keep children home from school, after this requirement was lifted during the peak of the Omicron wave.

However, the obligation to test three times a week and wear a mask when not seated at a desk will remain in force.

FOR MEMBERS: Reader question: Is home schooling legal in Austria?

The news about the end to distance learning was announced on Monday by Minister of Education Martin Polaschek from the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) following recommendations by the Committee of the National Covid Crisis Coordination (GECKO).

The requirement for a class to close if Covid-19 cases are discovered will also come to an end from February 28th. Currently, a class is placed on distance learning after two cases are detected within three days of each other.

This rule had already been modified in Vienna where schoolchildren who are vaccinated or recovered can still go to school even if two cases in a class are detected.

In the future, decisions on school closures as a result of Covid-19 outbreaks will be taken by the health authorities in federal states.

Additionally, from February 28th, external people such as sports trainers will be allowed to enter schools and, from March 5th, vaccinated and recovered teachers will be able to teach without wearing a mask.

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Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

The EU has eased recommendations for face masks on flights and in airports, but member states are free to put their own rules in place.

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

Since Monday, May 16th, it is no longer mandatory to wear a medical-grade face mask on flights and at airports within the EU.

But Austria will continue with the rule for now, meaning that masks are required on flights to Austria.

The implementation of the EU recommendation is based on the national rules in individual countries. 

For flights, where a destination country has a mask rule in place, then masks must be worn. 

An Austrian Airlines spokesperson told the Kronen Zeitung: “The easing of the mask requirement is an EU recommendation that must be reflected in a national regulation in order to also apply in Austria.” 

The aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC states that if masks are mandatory on public transport at the point of departure or at the destination, then the regulation should also continue on board the aircraft.

According to current Austrian Covid-19 regulations, wearing an FFP2 mask is still required in hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules

In addition to Austria, masks are still compulsory in some public areas in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy – all key tourism destinations for travellers from Austria.