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Coronavirus: daycare centres remain open for children of „key persons“

On the instructions of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the City of Bonn will keep the 229 day-care centres in Bonn and the 300 day-care centres for children up to school age open from Monday, 16 March to 19 April. At the same time, there is a general ban on entering the care facilities.

Exceptions are children whose legal guardian or caregiver is an "indispensable key person in maintaining public safety and order, providing medical and nursing care for the population and maintaining central functions of public life" , the decree states. Care should be made possible when private care cannot be provided, either by family members or through flexible working hours.

Against this background, Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan appealed to the city's employers to grant this flexibility as generously as possible: "The aim must be to protect as many people as possible from spreading, for example by not involving grandparents in the care process. At the same time, as many employees as possible must be able to carry out their work in critical infrastructures. This is only possible if everyone makes a contribution."

The decree has been sent to all municipal and independent daycare centres over the weekend. For Tuesday, the city announced the establishment of hotlines for questions concerning childcare in daycare centres and schools.

After initial misunderstandings about the nature and extent of the restrictions on the operation of day-care facilities and childcare services following a press conference by the country, the decree of the Ministry of Health and a now available explanation from the Ministry of Children, Family, Refugees and Integration of the country has provided clarity. All kindergartens and day care centres have now received the state's explanations.

Who is a „key person“?

The decree and the explanations of the state government define who is a key person: members of professional groups whose activities serve to maintain public safety and order as well as medical and nursing care for the population and to maintain central functions of public life. The parents or carers of the day care centre children must submit written confirmation from the employer in order to be able to take the children to the respective facilities. The decree of the state provides detailed information on this.

Schools

The operation of all schools in Bonn will also be discontinued as of Monday in accordance with the decision of the Ministry of Education. On March 13, 2020, the state cabinet decided to discontinue teaching at schools in North Rhine-Westphalia throughout the state from Monday, March 16, 2020, for the time being until the end of the Easter holidays on April 19, 2020. A reliable care service for children of parents in occupations that are particularly important for the provision of services of general interest, especially in the health care system, will be ensured. To give parents the opportunity to adjust to this situation, they can send their children to school of their own accord up to and including Tuesday (17 March 2020). The schools will provide childcare on these two days during normal school hours. The details are regulated by the school management.

Since the discontinuation of school operations must not lead to parents who work in indispensable functional areas - especially in the health sector - being absent from work to care for their children, schools must prepare appropriate childcare services for the entire period of the school's absence. According to the Ministry of Education, this applies in particular to children in grades 1 to 6. The Ministry of Education has announced that further details will be provided in the near future.

Subject to new findings from the Ministry of Education, the city of Bonn assumes that children in primary schools can be cared for by the OGS. The Bonn OGS providers have been informed.

Mayor Sridharan announced that parents whose children cannot be cared for will be reimbursed.

Measures at the citizens service centre

The crisis committee, which also met at the weekend, decided to adapt the procedures in the service centre in the Stadthaus. The waiting areas will be closed, citizens will be asked to wait outside until they are called. "We want and need to ensure that citizens are served," says Mayor Sridharan. "However, we must protect visitors as much as we protect our staff." He therefore asked for understanding for this measure as well.

In principle, the administration asks that, at present, visits to all municipal offices be avoided if possible and that contact be made by telephone or e-mail.

All meetings of the Council and its bodies will also be cancelled until the Easter holidays. It is also recommended not to convene the supervisory boards of the municipal companies until the end of the Easter holidays.

Mayor Sridharan is currently having a bill drafted with the aim of forgoing the lease from the tenants of municipal venues until further notice. He will introduce the proposal as an urgent decision, as no decision making body is meeting for the time being.

37 confirmed infections

As of 3 p.m. on Sunday, 15 March 2020, there are 37 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in Bonn. The diagnostic centre, which started operations on Saturday, is now running smoothly after brief start-up difficulties. The administration once again points out that appointments can only be made via the public health department or doctors' surgeries or the medical on-call service. The centre, with its two mobile teams, took 28 smear tests at the weekend and 36 smear tests in the diagnostic centre itself.

(Translated with deepL.com)

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