By Sylvia Cunningham and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
The Berlin Senate says all children can start returning to day care centers, or “Kita” beginning next Monday, June 15 and regular operation will resume starting on June 22.
The announcement came as parents demonstrated outside Berlin’s city hall yesterday, which Education Senator Sandra Scheeres referenced in her remarks to reporters.
She said this has been an extreme situation for many, and parents made clear: it couldn’t go on any longer and a solution was needed quicker.
Schools won’t reopen in full swing until August, after Berlin’s six-week summer vacation.
Scheeres said students and staff will no longer be required to stay 1.5 meters (5 feet) away from one another, a move the chairman of the German Education Union (GEW) is reportedly criticizing because he says it is contrary to current guidelines from Germany’s disease prevention authority, the Robert Koch Institute.
Hygiene protocol however, like regular hand washing and airing out classrooms, will remain in place.
Scheeres said the Berlin Senate plans to make testing for the coronavirus more widely available to school and day care staff as part of the plan to resume normal operations.
Meanwhile, there are reports of a coronavirus outbreak at a Spandau primary school.
The daily Berliner Zeitung reports five elementary-aged children — three of them from the same family — tested positive for COVID-19 at the Christoph-Földerich Primary School in Spandau. The outbreak led to 50 students and nine teachers being quarantined.
In Neukölln, two students attending two separate schools are also suspected of having the coronavirus. And in a separate case, a fifth-grader reportedly tested positive in Lichtenberg.
June is usually a time for weddings, but thanks to the pandemic, wedding planners instead are organizing protests.
The group of demonstrators joined in front of the Brandenburg Gate yesterday to demand aid during the crisis.
They set up a 30-meter-long table — that’s 98 feet — decked out with flowers and balloons in front of the Berlin landmark, creating the type of reception “every bride dreams of,” said wedding planner Stefanie Frädrich.
She told KCRW Berlin the evolving health situation makes planning a wedding difficult.
Frädrich said because guests need to book travel and hotels well in advance, it’s not possible for people to spontaneously go ahead with their weddings even as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.
The German Association of Wedding Service Providers estimates that at least 800 million euros were lost in spring 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.