33 pupils infected with the coronavirus, three sick teachers and several cases in affected families, alone 240 Schoolchildren in quarantine: This is the balance of the corona mass infection that a sick teacher at the Hamburg Heinrich Hertz School triggered in September last year.
At that time, the case made headlines nationwide as one of the first mass outbreaks in a school – also because the Hamburg authorities for a long time stuck to the claim that the pupils were mostly infected outside of school.
[Wenn Sie die wichtigsten News aus Berlin, Deutschland und der Welt live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wirIhnen unsere runderneuerte App, die Siehier für Apple- und Android-Geräteherunterladen können.] “Super-spreading events”
That this was not true was already the end 2020 by the first results of a study of the Heinrich Pette Institute (HPI) and the Eppendorf University Hospital in cooperation with the responsible health department in Hamburg-Nord. Now the health department has presented the exact reconstruction of the case, which impressively confirms the results – and urgently recommends maintaining the mask requirement in schools.
For the analysis, PCR samples were evaluated again, those affected were interviewed and the premises of the school were evaluated. The final report gives a very precise insight into the infection process, we are talking about “super-spreading events”.
The trigger was therefore a single teacher. This initially infected students in two teaching units 23 and another member of the educational staff. In both units, the teacher only wore a cotton face mask – and only when she came into close contact with the students. The latter wore “all of them did not wear a face mask”, as the report says: That was not mandatory at the time.
A classroom was poorly ventilated
In one classroom, the ventilation options were also limited because not all windows could be opened and cross ventilation was difficult. Also “minimum distances could not always be kept.”
The next day, lessons with the said teacher took place in two classes – but here an infection was later only detected in four students. The difference: on this second day, the teacher in school wore face masks all the time and kept a greater distance of more than 1.5 meters, the teacher also spoke less. “After feeling sick,” the teacher finished her class and left school.
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Further infections in schoolchildren , While staff and family members are not directly related to the classroom, the public health report said. Rather, “probably” breaks between children and friends of the classes taught by the teacher could play a role.
Differences between two days of class
What is striking is the “significant difference” in the infection rate between the two days of class, emphasize the researchers. You blame the shortened exposure times and “the change in the behavior of the infectious person” for the reduced infections on the second day – i.e. wearing the mask all the time and maintaining the minimum distance.
The health department as a conclusion clearly recommends maintaining the existing hygiene rules in schools. “A mask requirement for everyone inside the building should be maintained as long as the incidence and the vaccination rate do not allow the overall situation to ease,” it says literally.
The report is likely to become a political issue
Rooms in which adequate ventilation cannot be guaranteed should initially be used with fewer people and / or for a limited period of time.
The The final report is likely to become a political issue – as the analysis became known in December 2020. At that time, the school authorities initially prevented the findings from being published. Today, the recommendation of the health department to leave the mask requirement in schools meets a general political weather situation that is currently going exactly in the opposite direction: The mask requirement at least in elementary schools is gradually being lifted nationwide – in Berlin since the beginning of this week.