92 percent of 113 German universities participating in the latest survey by the “Welt am Sonntag” indicated that they would not be able to fully return to in-person teaching in the winter semester, while 8 percent emphasized that they have already been planning to continue the normal operation.
According to data, the reasons behind universities not planning to return to full-time face-to-face teaching are not related to universities’ readiness in this regard but due to the applicable hygiene measures, which at the moment do now allow the return to full-time in-person lectures.
Some university rectors have urged lifting the distance requirement, hopeful that higher numbers of students and teachers at different German universities and colleges will already be vaccinated by winter; thus, such restrictions will no longer be necessary.
As per students’ vaccination in Germany, Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek had earlier said that students should get priority in COVID-19 vaccination so German academic institutions can return to in-person classes during the winter semester.
She pointed out that universities in the country have been delivering lessons mainly digitally for the third semester in a row, and as a result, students have been experiencing increased levels of stress.
On Tuesday, during a news conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany would not make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory, yet added that more vaccinated Germans, respecting distancing rules, and performing COVID-19 testing will help the country to prevent another wave of the virus.
“We have no intention of going down this road. There will be no compulsory vaccination,” Merkel said.
Students in Germany who have been financially impacted by the pandemic have been receiving financial support since June 2020, after the Federal Government approved the COVID-19 emergency package of €100 million.
The amount of €500 per month was expected to be allocated to students in the country until March 2021; nonetheless, the Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek, along with the German Student Union (DSW), have decided to extend the bridging aid until the beginning of the winter semester.
According to figures, almost 2.9 million students were enrolled in German universities in the winter semester of 2019/2020.
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