New coronavirus cases force Ramstein Middle School to close, distance learning begins Wednesday

The doors of Ramstein Middle School remain closed on October 25, 2021, following new cases of coronavirus among the school population. Teachers and students are switching to distance learning while school administrators assess the situation. (Alexander W. Riedel / Stars and Stripes)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Students at Ramstein High School will not be attending in-person classes this week due to confirmed cases of coronavirus among the school population, school and base officials said on Sunday.

“Following a cluster of recent positive cases of COVID 19, in coordination with the local military command and public health officials, the decision was made to move our school to distance learning,” a stated a letter to parents from RMS administration shared with Stars and Stripes.

School officials did not specify in the letter how many positive cases there were or whether students, teachers or both were affected. A post on the official Ramstein Air Base Facebook page on Sunday evening said the cases had been confirmed earlier today.

Citing the policy, the Air Force also declined to provide case numbers.

A spokeswoman for the 86th Airlift Wing in Ramstein said the contact tracing is expected to take several days.

Cases confirmed at RMS included both teachers and students, a spokesperson for DODEA-Europe said on Monday.

RMS students will not be attending school on Mondays and Tuesdays. Teachers will use the two days to prepare for distance education starting Wednesday, the letter said. The school will notify families by the end of the day on Friday if distance learning will continue.

“Distance education will allow the school and facility to assess the situation, provide appropriate cleaning, and follow the contact tracing and public health procedures necessary to ensure the safety of students and staff. Ramstein base officials said on Facebook.

Some students and family members may be quarantined as a result of contact tracing, school officials said. Students in quarantine will receive distance education for the duration of this period, they said.

Base officials advised affected staff to contact their supervisors to discuss childcare or telecommuting options, if necessary.

“If you are not contacted by public health officials, you have not been deemed to have been in close contact,” RMS said in his letter.

The college’s closure and the switch to distance learning does not affect Ramstein’s other core schools or students enrolled in the DODEA Virtual School, officials said.

The coronavirus cases in Ramstein come amid a surge in cases in Germany, leading some health experts to declare the start of a “fourth wave” of infections.

On Friday, the seven-day average of new infections in Germany per 100,000 people was 95.1, down from 68.7 a week ago, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute. A total of 19,572 new infections were reported on Friday, more than double the number reported seven days ago.

About 66% of the German population is fully vaccinated, according to RKI.

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Jennifer H. Svan

Jennifer reports on the US military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She has had missions for Stars and Stripes in Japan before, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Prior to Stripes, she worked for Wyoming and Colorado dailies. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.



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