Teacher’s Corner: Back to School: Fuck Corona, Fuck the Government, Fuck People

School started again yesterday. Back in July when the holidays started, we had an average of 10 new cases per week in our cosy little Bundesland (State) with its population of one million. Many days we didn’t have a single new case, there were times without a single person being hospitalised. And then everybody decided they were fed up with Covid, first of all the responsible people in government. Measures kept being reduced, the number of people you could have in a spot got increased, travel warnings got discontinued, so people parties, went to clubs, went on their holiday. And then we all saw the images of German and British tourists from Mallorca, flaunting all distancing and mask rules and smart people knew that this wouldn’t work out.

And of course, numbers kept increasing. Suddenly politicians decided that maybe we should test people who return from their holiday, but the roll out was slow, at the start it was optional, and honestly, a country with seven borders cannot control if the people crossing the border just went shopping or drove through half of Europe.

But still, schools are opened almost like normal with a bunch of rules that make no sense and that are just to cover our asses from liability. For example, we should not mix classes, except for religious education, that’s when the virus takes a break. We have separate entrances and school yards for year 5, 6 and 7, but of course no separate buses. We have to wear masks when walking along a corridor alone, but in class the kids sit next to each other with up to 29 kids a class with no masks. But I do get two free tests, mostly so the ministry can say “look, it wasn’t the teachers who brought it to school”. I do not get free masks…

If you think I’m sounding bitter, that’s because I am. I haven’t hugged my sister since March. I didn’t get to celebrate my wedding anniversary, we won’t get to celebrate Mr’s 50th birthday. I basically locked my kids up for three months and only allowed outdoor visits to their grandparents’ a couple of weeks ago. I sewed some hundred masks. I stayed the fuck at home, despite usually longing for the holiday all year round. I tried my best to keep us and others safe, to stop the spread of Covid, and now I’m considered cannon fodder in the educational system. The people in the ministry won’t put themselves at risk like this. Even the parents who all decided that this was the perfect year for a holiday don’t have to sit with 30 other people who also thought like that. And the first class in a school 10km away is already in quarantine because a kid tested positive after coming back from the holiday…

Should Covid kill me, just dump my body on the steps of parliament.


  1. says

    We had similar situation in CZ. I think it was OK to loosen many of the restrictions, now that we know more about the virus and how it spreads, but I also think it was way too premature to lift the facemask mandate in enclosed public spaces. Because once the mandate was lifted, of course, nobody was wearing them anymore at all. And of course, many people (mainly young people) took it as a signal that everything is OK now and went to paaaartyyyyy -- and the disease started to spread again.
    At least when the school begins, the mask mandate will be issued again.

  2. lumipuna says

    Finland just decided to re-ban travel from Germany, together with some smaller European countries, from next Monday on. Ironically, China and Italy now seem to be the largest countries left on the “safe” list.

    The official guideline in Finland is to ban any countries that exceed the rate of 8 infections per 100 000 people in two weeks. This was decided earlier in the summer, when we had about one infection per abovementioned unit. Now it’s up to about five -- at this rate, we’ll soon have to ban ourselves.

    IIRC, some analysis from Finland and Sweden suggests that schools are not significant drivers of the epidemic -- and governments are understandably reluctant to cut contact teaching. The main problem seems to be that a) governments are also reluctant to close risky but crucially money-making venues such as bars and nightclubs and barber shops and b) there’s no preparation for when/if schools and universities do have to close contact teaching.

  3. says

    IIRC, some analysis from Finland and Sweden suggests that schools are not significant drivers of the epidemic —

    I think Israel begs to differ. The problem with about all “kids don’t drive the epidemic studies” was that they were made when the schools were closed and the kids’ social contacts were reduced by 99%. Last week in Germany we had more than 600 infections in children under 10 years…
    My kids are now asking if grandpa can’t drive them because the bus is packed as hell

  4. lumipuna says

    I guess the results, as well as “methodologies” of these natural experiments are all over the place. Mileage may vary etc. Of course, if the virus is circulating significantly anyway, school exposure will presumably increase the risk to individual school-going families such as yours, even if school-related transmission risk is low.

    Here’s the site for downloading (a separate PDF in English) the study I mentioned, if someone’s interested:


  5. says

    That study seems to be making a lot of claims from very little data. For one thing, it doesn’t say much about testing. With youngsters being more likely to be asymptomatic carriers, many of them will go undetected.While we all remember those stories about superspreading events and superspreaders (the choir in NY, the church lady in South Korea,…), by now we can only trace where someone caught it in about 30% of cases. It doesn’t tell us how many tests were carried out on schoolchildren in both countries, especially with the huge differences in cases and therefore strain on testing capacities in both countries. And lastly, I don’t find it very reassuring if in “just let them die, I want ice cream” Sweden teachers did not supposedly have a higher risk. Oh, and of course you also cannot compare Swedish and Finish schools to schools elsewhere. I’ve seen images from run off the mill Finish comprehensive schools. They look like posh private schools here. Here we sometimes don’t have running water and sinks in the classrooms.

  6. voyager says

    That’s terrible, Giliell. I don’t understand why masks are only required in hallways, and I don’t see how social distancing of 2 metres can be possible with 29 kids in a class. Also, Is there a plan in place for families who can’t afford masks?
    At this point, it feels like putting kids back in schools is just a science experiment.

Leave a Reply