The state rejects the solingen special school path

The city of Solingen may not – as planned – cut the classes in half and introduce digital lessons from Wednesday. The NRW Ministry of Health banned the model on Tuesday.

The NRW Ministry of Health has ordered the city of Solingen not to implement the combination of face-to-face teaching and digital distance teaching. This model should have been launched tomorrow, Wednesday (November 4th, 2020). Solingen would have been the first city in North Rhine-Westphalia to return to digital teaching.

Also school minister for prohibition

"I agree with the health minister that the so-called ‘Solinger Weg’ contradicts a similar approach within the state," said NRW school minister Yvonne Gebauer (FDP). "A blanket reduction in face-to-face lessons leads to social disadvantage, especially for those pupils who for very different reasons receive less support than their classmates in their home environment."

Gebauer pointed out that in more than 98 percent of the schools in North Rhine-Westphalia classroom instruction could be given for all children. And that must also be possible in Solingen.

Landtag opposition "horrified"

Thomas Kutschaty, SPD parliamentary group leader in the NRW state parliament, was "horrified" by the state’s decision. "In doing so, the state government is not only opposing the city of Solingen, but also against the will of the local schools," said Kutschaty. The city would have acted in an exemplary manner and demonstrated responsibility for its citizens.

The city reacts with incomprehension

In Solingen, according to WDR information, the headmasters in particular react to the instruction with incomprehension. Lord Mayor Tim Kurzbach was disappointed at a press conference called at short notice. He would have liked to talk to the Ministry of Education about a plan B at least. But today "the ministry did not want to continue talking, it just wanted to give instructions".

Lord Mayor Kurzbach wanted to reduce contacts

Last Friday (October 31, 2020) Mayor Tim Kurzbach announced the Solingen special school path. The aim is to prevent entire classes or entire schools from having to be quarantined in the event of infection. The plan was to divide the classes and courses from the secondary schools into groups that would then only come to school alternately. The Lord Mayor stated that the goal was to significantly reduce the number of possible contacts. One wants to avoid complete school closings.

Ministry had announced examination

This regulation was subject to change from the start. The Ministry of Education announced concerns early on. Prime Minister Armin Laschet had spoken out in the WDR interview against sending some of the students home and leaving the other part in the schools. "We want to do everything we can to maintain classroom teaching."

Proportionately more positive tests

Solingen is at the top nationwide with the number of infections. The 7-day incidence has recently risen to over 280 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. The proportion of positive tests has also increased in recent times, says Prof. Dr. Wilfried Randerath, the chief physician at the Bethanien Lung Clinic.

Mayor Kurzbach also announced on Friday that the Bundeswehr should support the health department. 55 more employees are to be hired in the Solingen health department. Even with the support of the state, at most four additional employees could be employed. Therefore the Bundeswehr will be asked for support.

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