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A page by the Federal Ministry of Health

Bundesministerium für Gesundheit
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Information for young people

Young people can also transmit the novel coronavirus and contract Covid-19. Therefore, they should also stay at home. Other things young people should be aware of:

Stay at home and help

Everyone can contribute to containing the further spread of the novel coronavirus by staying at home and keeping physical contact to a minimum. Because the virus is transmitted from person to person, reduced contact with others helps to contain its transmission.

Right now, everyone should stay at home. Not just those in the risk group. It is important to prevent an uncontrolled increase in the number of cases and, in so doing, ensure that our healthcare system is able to function properly. That can only be done if we all avoid social contact, because young people can transmit the virus, too. Also, it cannot be ruled out that the infection can take a serious course in people who are not in the risk group.

It is important for us all that the chain of infection is broken wherever possible. This is the only way that the healthcare system can deal with the challenges faced. This is why everyone should restrict the amount of contact they have with other people. One alternative to personal contact with friends is to meet up online, for example using video chat. Appeal to your friends to be reasonable in these extraordinary times.

Yes, young people can also belong to the risk group if they have a pre-existing medical condition. For example, if they take medication that affects their immune system or if they have a heart condition. Smokers also belong to the risk group because they are likely to become seriously ill due to the possibility of their lung capacity being reduced.

We currently discourage visiting older people, since people over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of an infection with the novel coronavirus taking a serious course. Any contact with grandparents should therefore be limited to phone calls, video calls or written correspondence out of consideration for their safety and health. The contact restrictions will remain effective until at least 29 June 2020. Following the decision of 25 May 2020, it is permitted for members of two different households as well as up to ten people to spend time together in public spaces. In general, please behave according to the DHM formula: Maintain a distance (at least 1.5 metres), adhere to hygiene rules (proper coughing and sneezing, washing hands) and, where there is little room, wear a non-medical face mask (community mask). Some Federal Laender have different rules. Please check which rules apply where you are. If your grandparents live in an old-age or nursing home: These often follow very strict visiting rules to protect their residents. As a general rule, regular visits to a long-term care facility by a specified person are permitted, as long as there are no active COVID-19 cases within the facility. Please check the rules that apply in your region or the individual facility.

Young people fall ill just as often as older people. In young people, the symptoms are often mild, but they are still contagious and can still infect others.

People can still date, but social restrictions must be observed and contact with others should be kept to an absolute minimum. That means using online dating sites or video calls rather than meeting in person.

There is also a high risk of infection during sex, because the probability of transmission increases if you are closer than 1.5 metres to a person who is infected with the new coronavirus. There is also a high risk when kissing, because saliva is exchanged. Here you can find further information.

This mode of transmission cannot be excluded. It is extremely important to maintain sufficient distance. When you breathe deeply while doing sports, the droplets you exhale are expelled further than usual. You should therefore follow the distancing rules even more stringently when out of breath. When jogging, try to avoid running in someone else’s slipstream. Doing sports in larger groups of people poses a larger risk of infection and is still forbidden in most Laender. Each Land currently has its own regulations. Please check the current rules on contact restriction in your area. In general, please behave according to the DHM formula: Maintain a distance (at least 1.5 metres), adhere to hygiene rules (proper coughing and sneezing etiquette, washing hands) and, where there is little room, wear a non-medical face mask (community mask).

Outside sports and training practice in amateur and leisure sports is now permitted again. Fitness training and competitive sports may gradually be resumed. In spaces where it is very difficult to maintain the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 metres from others, you should refrain from doing sports with other people. Some Federal Laender have different rules. Please check which rules apply where you are. There are various online opportunities that enable you to participate in sports and fitness programmes. Detailed information available here.

The Laender determine for themselves when to gradually reopen indoor and outdoor swimming pools. In most Federal Laender, outside swimming pools have been reopened. When you go to an outside swimming pool, it is important to follow the basic hygiene principles and in general those summed up by the DHM formula: Maintain a distance (at least 1.5 metres), observing hygiene rules (proper coughing and sneezing, washing hands) and, where there is little room, wear a non-medical face mask (community mask), for instance when waiting in line. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für das Badewesen e. V. (German Association for the Bathing Industry) provides information on its website on how you should behave in an outside swimming pool during the coronavirus epidemic and what the operators of such a facility should consider when reopening. Outside swimming pools are still closed in some Federal Laender. Please check which rules apply in your region.

School, university and apprenticeships

Schools in the majority of Laender will gradually resume their activities from 11 May, initially with an emphasis on year groups that are close to graduating or changing school. The pupils that will resume their scholastic activities are: those in their final year, pupils at general educational or vocational schools who are in their qualification-relevant years and will be taking their exams the following school year, as well as those in the final year of primary school. The exam preparations and exams of this year’s final-year students should be able to take place. Furthermore, by adhering to the corresponding hygiene measures, it should be possible for all students to gradually resume their education. All students should be able to resume their obligatory school attendance for at least a number of days or weeks at a time before the summer holidays. Digital education concepts and offers are also to be developed further. Details on the regulations can be found on each Bundesland’s government website.

As soon as a university offers online lectures, students must attend them in order to meet the requirements for student grants and loans. For more information, see here.

The schools and teachers are responsible for preparing learning materials. If you have not received any materials or need additional material, please stick to the curriculum and make use of online learning platforms. In some cases, the state (Länder) education authorities offer learning packages for pupils.

The universities publish information for students and in some cases provide details of whom students can contact with their questions. Individual universities and faculties use their various media channels to publish information on deadlines and the requirements regarding student presence. Please go to your university’s website to find out more.

As a general rule, students have a right to be examined. However, in exceptional circumstances the health and safety of examinees must be ensured. The German states (Länder) have introduced a range of different measures. In Berlin, exams have been postponed until April.

The apprenticeship period should be arranged so that training can continue. Apprentices also have an obligation to attend training. However, due to the current situation, training and teaching at vocational colleges cannot continue in the usual way. At the moment, school buildings are closed to pupils and lessons have been cancelled for the time being. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has instructed all schools to supply their pupils with educational exercises and learning materials. The results of this work can be incorporated into performance assessments.

As a general rule, apprentices must show up for training. They have a right to refuse to work if they fear a concrete risk to their health. When exactly such risk exists can differ from case to case. Depending on a person’s individual risk factors and the actual situation at the employer’s workplace, apprentices should speak to their supervisor and agree the measures to be taken.

Financial support

Yes, if schools and universities are closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic, Bafög recipients continue to receive their payments. The period in which universities remain closed is classed as lecture-free time. As soon as a university offers online lectures, students must participate and attend those lectures in order to meet the requirements for Bafög.

If exams are cancelled due to university closures and the standard period of study is exceeded as a result, Bafög payments will continue to be paid in the large majority of cases. It is not yet clear how long universities will need to restrict their operations on account of the novel coronavirus. Some universities have postponed the start of the semester. An overview of the current situation is provided by the National Union of Students in Germany (fzs). Further information is also available on the website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

If you receive Bafög, you are not entitled to receive unemployment benefit. If you are unemployed as a result of the current situation and do not receive Bafög, you can apply for unemployment benefit. Here you can find further information.

As a general rule, students are still in demand as workers – for example in delivering drinks, food and parcels. See the Federal Employment Agency website for further information.