When schools and university classes resume after the Easter break, students and teachers will go back to a familiar setting in more than one way. Austria has decided to keep the mask requirements in education for the time being, according to the Ministry of Education.
Students must have a surgical mask (known in Austria as MNS) outside of classrooms and group rooms in school, up to the 8th school level. From the 9th school level, there is an FFP2 mask requirement.
Vaccinated or recovered teachers wear masks throughout the school building, but not in classrooms and group rooms. Teachers who have not been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19 have to wear masks in the classrooms.
The frequent Covid-19 tests in schools are also changing, according to the Ministry of Education.
There is a mandatory weekly PCR test, down from the twice-a-week requirement, and antigen tests should be available in some instances, such as when there are positive cases of Covid in the class.
How about the universities?
Things can get more confusing in higher education since each university regulates its own corona requirements.
Most universities will keep an FFP2 mask requirement for the time being, at least in common areas, Vienna.AT reported.
Austria’s mask mandate
Last week, Austria had removed most of the coronavirus restrictions, including mandatory masks in most – but not all – indoor places.
As masks will continue to be used in schools and universities of the alpine country, they are also mandatory in enclosed spaces of hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport, taxis, and customer areas of vital trade, including supermarkets.
The mask mandate has been dropped in enclosed places like gyms, restaurants and bars, and cultural establishments, although masks are still recommended here.
At the same time, the Austrian government announced an end to the so-called 3G rule. People will no longer have to present proof that they have been vaccinated, recently recovered or tested negative to enter most places – including Viennese bars and restaurants, where the even stricter 2G rules (vaccinated or recovered) were in place.
3G rules still apply to visitors, employees, and service providers in hospitals and care homes. Some universities will also keep the rules at least until the end of the month.
COVID numbers keep going down
Austria has seen a substantial decline in the number of new coronavirus infections.
According to the Ministry of Health, just over 7,000 new cases were recorded on April 17th. There were 1,885 people in hospitals with Covid-19, 99 fewer than the day before, and 161 people in intensive care units.
In Austria, 16,420 people have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.
The country has just under 70 per cent of its population fully vaccinated, meaning they have two doses of an approved vaccine within validity.