It is 7.45 o’clock. For many vocational school students it is the first day of school in weeks. For the future painters, office clerks, carpenters, automotive mechatronics technicians and wood turners, these are very strenuous days. Schools have to study for final exams, and everyday teaching has become burdensome. And then some students are tormented by a worry that didn’t exist before: "I’m afraid of catching the disease, says daniel gerold, a student in a final automotive class.
Classes start at different times so that not too many people enter the school building at the same time. At the entrance, janitors werner schmitt and jurgen tremer are standing with disinfectant. Students enter the school building one at a time. Every school hand is disinfected.
Markings on the floor
Yellow dots are stuck on the floor in the school’s entrance area. The schoolchildren are instructed to stand on them. "The yellow dots make it clear how far a meter and a half is", says principal karin maywald. In addition, arrows on the floor show the prescribed direction of travel in the corridors, so that students do not accidentally run into each other.
The most important rules
On the first day of school after weeks, the principal holds a small funeral speech. "I am standing here today to tell you about the hygiene rules", she says. And then she begins to list important rules that are now a regular part of the curriculum: wearing a mask, observing cough and sneeze etiquette, washing hands. "Better once too much than once too little", she says. And: "the most important rule: please keep the distance of one and a half meters." A schoolgirl asks if they have to wear the masks all day long. Yes, is the answer. "I know it’s hard for people who wear glasses, but please keep the masks on!", the principal appeals to her students.
Lessons very different
Normally between 500 and 600 teenagers and young adults attend the school. In addition, there are schools that have block classes and therefore come once a week or several weeks on the stuck. In total, around 1600 students attend the vocational school, says the school’s principal. At the moment there are only seven classes in the building, which corresponds to between 100 and 120 young people. "It’s important for us to keep in touch with the students", says maywald. In the future, students will work from home and at school. For the digital phases at home, the school uses microsoft teams.
The classes are divided up so that the students are seated in the classroom with sufficient distance between them. A maximum of fifteen students are allowed in each classroom. "We need double the space as a result", explains karin maywald.
Not all classrooms have a plexiglass screen at the front of the desk. "We had a hard time finding any." Sometimes they were charged enormous sums for the materials, which the principal finds indecent.
For the teachers teaching is very exhausting. "They have to speak all day with a mask on." The screen is used so that the teachers can take off their masks sometimes. In addition, there is a yellow line in the classroom that separates teachers and pupils from each other.
Motor vehicle instructor raphael hochemer is not afraid of catching the disease. Many of his fellow students feel the same way. Working at home has been difficult for them, they report. At some point the air was out. "It’s difficult to think yourself into the material if you’re not used to teaching yourself things", says marius fischer. Niklas veth reports that he has found it difficult to work with discipline and concentration at home.
A young man in the back row has a head covering on. Peter dacho, a teacher in the motor vehicle class, asks him to take off his cap. The schoolboy pulls off his cappy, and his hair spills out from under it. "I have not been to the hairdresser since corona", he says apologetically.
On the construction work currently underway at the school
Since june 2019, the school has been undergoing partial renovation as part of the municipal investment program for school infrastructure (KIP-S).
New flooring was installed in the teachers’ room, the silentium room and the library last week. During the whitsun vacations and afterwards, the classrooms are to be equipped with homogeneous enomer flooring.