Stress test

By Mathias Maurer, July 2020

We look back on unusual weeks at the service public health. The restrictions on our freedoms as a result of the battle against the coronavirus are, looked at historically, not unique – except for the closure of the churches – but the enemy and setting have changed.

The political, legal, medical and personal judgements and reactions could not be more different, and contradictory information provokes additional insecurity among people who are already full of anxiety.

The kindergartens, nurseries and schools also face challenges. Not just as they try to follow the many different and changing instructions from their governments but also in trying to keep some sort of emergency care and the semblance of some kind of teaching going under more difficult conditions. There are repeated reports of pupils from lower and middle school who have become invisible and even digitally knowledgeable exam students are hardly able to manage their exam preparations without the physical presence of their teachers.

Even if necessity has forced schools to teach online – some celebrate it as a digital breakthrough – we must not forget that every type of education and every learning process lives in the direct encounter between teachers and pupils. That is not some kind of pious Waldorf wish but has been shown to be a fact by numerous scientific studies.

Many parents are afflicted by existential fears because they are threatened by bankruptcy, short-time working or losing their job. Alongside working from home, many are unable to cope with the unusual situation or having to become teachers themselves at home.

Every doctor knows that anxiety and negative stress are the number one immunity killers. Every doctor also knows that all viruses permanently mutate and change. Theoretically that leaves three possibilities: everyone is vaccinated against everything at regular intervals, a lockdown is imposed every year, or we become more resilient.

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