Coronavirus: the first thing that can be done is opening schools

Coronavirus: the first thing that can be done is opening schools

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Leopoldina statement: This is how the return to "normalcy" can succeed

The measures to curb the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will continue until April 20, but what happens after that? In its third ad hoc statement on the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina presented a roadmap with which a “normalization” can be gradually implemented without drastically increasing the risk of further infections.

First of all, according to the Leopoldina statement, schools in particular should be reopened as soon as possible, albeit gradually. Starting with primary schools and lower secondary education, school operations could gradually be resumed. However, the experts are rather critical of childcare in daycare centers and only speak in favor of the children in transition to primary school for a return. Furthermore, special measures are proposed for the gradual normalization of public life, such as wearing mouth-nose protective masks in public transport.

The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the measures adopted to contain the infections have a massive impact on all areas of our society. The researchers at the National Academy of Sciences have now shown how the return to “normality” can be achieved. Your statement addresses the psychological, social, legal, educational and economic aspects of the pandemic and speaks several key recommendations. The Chancellor also sees the recommendations as an important basis for the upcoming decisions.

Gradually open education

The Corona crisis has led to a massive decline in childcare, teaching and learning services as well as a worsening of social inequality, which is why the reopening of educational institutions should take place as soon as possible. "On the one hand, educational restrictions have to be lifted, on the other hand, the risks of new infections have to be minimized," says the Leopoldina.

Primary schools and lower secondary education first

First of all, the primary and lower secondary schools should be gradually opened again, as the younger children in the educational system are more dependent on personal care, guidance and support, the experts emphasize. With increasing age, the possibility of distance learning, whether digital or analog, could be better used. Therefore, a return to the usual lessons in higher levels of the education system could take place later.

Childcare centers closed until summer vacation?

For the area of ​​daycare centers, the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences is to only continue emergency operations here until the summer holidays - with the exception of children in transition to primary school. "In the area of ​​kindergartens and day-care centers, regular operations with reduced group sizes (max. 5 children per room) should take place at the transition to primary school (5-6 year olds)", the Leopoldina comment. This does not apply to the smaller children, since they do not adhere to the distance rules and protective measures, but at the same time can pass on the infection.

In the case of childcare in nurseries, too, only the continuation of emergency care is provided for, whereby the statement expressly refers to the fact that this presupposes that "working parents continue to be supported financially by very flexible handling of working hours and locations as well as financially."

Requirements for normalizing public life

According to the experts, public life can also be gradually normalized if the following requirements are met:

  1. The new infections stabilize at a low level.
  2. The necessary clinical reserve capacities are being built up and the care of the other patients is resumed on a regular basis.
  3. The known protective measures (hygiene measures, mouth-nose protection, distance rules, increasing identification of infected people) are observed in a disciplined manner.

Mouth and nose protection in future passenger traffic mandatory?

For example, the retail trade and the hospitality industry could reopen, general business and official public traffic could be resumed, and business and private trips could also be undertaken taking the protective measures mentioned into account. "Wearing mouth-nose protection should become an additional measure in certain areas such as public transport," said the National Academy of Sciences.

Cultural and sporting events

Depending on the possible spatial distance and the contact intensity of those involved, social, cultural and sporting events could also be made possible again little by little, the experts report. Continuous monitoring of the number of infections remains essential.

Economic and fiscal challenges

In order to mitigate the consequences of the Corona crisis, it is also important to use economic and financial policy for stabilization: in the short term with help to bridge the difficult situation such as short-time work, liquidity support, tax deferrals and grants to reduce bankruptcies. In the medium term, with further fiscal policy stimuli such as tax breaks or additional funds for public investments, such as in health care, digital infrastructure and climate protection.

Setting the course for sustainability

It is now time to set the course for sustainability, because existing global challenges, such as climate and species protection in particular, will not disappear with the Corona crisis, according to the Leopoldina. Therefore, political measures at national and international level should be based on the principles of ecological and social sustainability, future sustainability and gaining resilience. Economic stimulus programs should generally be compatible with the goals of the European green deal.

Corona pandemic will determine life for months to come

"Although the pandemic will continue to dominate economic and social life for months to come, it is important to develop criteria and strategies to gradually return to normality beyond the acute restrictions of fundamental fundamental rights such as freedom of movement"; the experts sum up in their comments. A prerequisite for such a gradual relaxation, however, is that the new infections stabilize at a low level, the health system is not overloaded, infected people are increasingly identified and the protective measures (hygiene measures, mouth-nose protection, distance rules) are adhered to in a disciplined manner. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina: Ad hoc statement "Coronavirus pandemic - Overcoming the crisis sustainably" (April 13, 2020),
  • National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina: Coronavirus: National Academy Leopoldina publishes third ad hoc statement (published April 13, 2020),

Video: How Do You Reopen Schools in a Covid-19 World? (May 2022).


  1. Macqueen

    What follows from it?

  2. Worrell

    Great post - no words. Thanks.

  3. Marquis

    Bravo, what are the right words ... brilliant thought

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