The education minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has called for harsh punishment of people who refuse to wear a mask: ranging as far as expulsion from schools, Deutsche Welle says in an article.
All secondary school students in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia — about two million in total — have to cover their mouths and noses: in the schoolyard, in lessons, in the hallways. It's all aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
Masks will remain obligatory at least until the end of the month. Many students are hoping that then at least they can take them off during lessons.
A school principal, Ursula Dreeser, explains the measures that she and her colleagues have taken. Different entrances for different classes, regularly opening the windows, social distancing throughout the school and grounds.
The decision by the state authorities to make masks mandatory came just days ago. NRW is the only one of Germany's 16 federal states to introduce the measure. Dreeser was surprised, too. "I was shocked," she told DW, "because I just can't see people being able to bear it. People may have already had to take a bus or train wearing a mask, had a chance to take it off briefly between the bus stop and school and then put it back on for the rest of the day."
In Germany, measures taken to combat the Coronavirus vary from state to state and school to school. Some schools have introduced one-way systems so that students don't have to pass each other. Others are trying to hold as many lessons as possible outdoors.