Amelia Nierenberg and Adam Pasick, The New York Times |
On Wednesday, German schools will close along with nonessential stores and services as part of a strict lockdown that will be in effect through Christmas. Schools are tentatively scheduled to reopen in mid-January.
“The numbers were so out of control that German leaders decided they had to lock everything down, even schools,” said Melissa Eddy, a Times correspondent in Berlin.
Germany took an aggressive approach to containment early on, relying on science, contact tracing and accessible testing to mostly keep the virus at bay. It cited research that elementary students posed a low risk of spreading the virus, which is now a growing consensus among much of the world. But that couldn’t stave off this week’s difficult decision.
That’s not because schools seeded the virus. Instead, it’s because community spread has skyrocketed.
The coming weeks are now especially uncertain for schools. Germany, a country long committed to data privacy, has not leaned into online learning software, which makes a transition to remote learning even more difficult.
“You do have the odd school with the inventive tech director, but the rest of them are really struggling,” Melissa said. “Going into distance learning is a big problem around here.”