Llockdown is like drastic measures. But Monday came into effect in Austria with nothing more than that, and the day began with a large number of “recommendations”, “exceptions” and appeals for personal responsibility. There was great uncertainty, especially in one important area: in schools. As soon as the lock-up was announced on Friday, many parents stood there in large crowds, often carrying large shopping bags with them to carry home books and study materials for three weeks. Only: No books or materials. Not much clarity on Monday.
When the measures were announced on Friday, federal President Alexander Shalenberg (ÖVP) acknowledged that school subjects were “one of the most difficult topics in locking up.” His response to the problem was: “Parents always know best what is best for their child.” He was not immediately available for comment. Exactly now the requirements of the Ministry of Education.
At eight o’clock only one thing became clear: schools were open, classroom lessons were continuing, and the schedule was there. However, at the same time, there is a common call to keep children at home if possible. The blank apology applies to all students and does not require a medical certificate for not attending class. The test rule will continue in schools, with all children being tested three times a week.
Everything else is left to schools or class teachers. For example, how home education works. The Minister of Education stressed that it is the duty of responsible teachers to inform the children staying at home of what they have learned. Or in other words: Parents need to know more. According to Faßmann, the most important thing is: “The school is open, which not only oversees but also provides instruction.”
Tests and work: Yes, no, maybe?
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. For example, will there be school work and trials. “This is not the time to focus on improving performance,” Faßmann said in a radio interview Monday morning. However, at the same time, the Ministry of Education added: There may be performance reviews if practically all students in a class or are unable to postpone exams. “If reliable performance evaluation is not possible otherwise, tests can be avoided altogether”. Confusion among teachers, parents and children seems inevitable here.
To many onlookers, it continues in the school area that has caused general discontent in Austria over the past few weeks: vague and vague political contact. Editor-in-Chief Paul Kimberger spoke of a “catastrophe” when one hears something different from all sides.
The main critique you often get is only from the media. This was also stated by Michael Fleck, Chairman of the Vienna Directors, who spoke on behalf of school principals and teachers. “They are frustrated, angry and bitter that they still do not understand how to communicate with us after so many months of crisis,” he said. Parents approach teachers and ask, “Now is Friday – what is Monday?”
In practice, parents received an email on Sunday evening to assess their needs. And all the information will be informed in the coming days. Education Minister Faßman called Monday a “dynamic day” that needed to find “flexible solutions”.
But this is practically impossible in practice, especially for working parents. Because the government’s proposition of “free parental decision” does not stand up to the reality of life. For example, home education or home office instructions have no legal right to child care hours.
The request to switch to home office mode only applies where possible. However, the practice of past lockdowns shows that fewer and fewer employers are implementing this. In addition, the past few weeks have made it clear that appeals have little effect.
In a radio interview, Fassman publicly apologized to staff for the information confusion. He was well aware that there was no “crazy time” to prepare. He himself learned about the lockout on Friday and asked for your happiness.
Apologies are becoming fashionable: Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) started, followed by President Shalenberg (ÖVP) after some hesitation, and now Constitution Minister Caroline Edstadler has acknowledged that the film is not good.
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