Bonn, 21 August 2020. Yesterday the Superior Administrative Court rejected an application for a temporary injunction against the compulsory use of masks in school classroom instruction. The obligation to wear a mouth‑and‑nose mask in accordance with § 1 (3) of the Corona Protection Regulation (CoronaSchVO) in classroom instruction will probably be affirmed as lawful.
Under the Corona Supervision Regulation (Coronabetreuungsverordnung), all pupils at secondary and vocational schools who are on the school premises or in the school building are obliged to wear a so‑called “everyday mask” during classroom instruction. Three pupils (between 10 and 15 years of age) at an Euskirchen school had filed a complaint against the regulation, arguing that the benefits of wearing everyday masks had not been scientifically demonstrated and that masks would at best offer protection if used correctly, which is not to be expected from children under 14 years of age. Moreover, they argued, the wearing of a mouth‑nose mask causes health problems and makes it more difficult to take part in lessons at school.
The Superior Administrative Court was not convinced by this argument. Even though wearing an everyday mask in class is a considerable burden on the pupils concerned, in the view of the High Court this would appear to be reasonable and proportionate when weighed against the objectives being pursued. The resumption of regular school attendance with pupils being physically present at lessons promotes the development of children and adolescents while satisfying their right to a school education. Within this framework, the compulsory wearing of masks was intended to contribute to containing the incidence of infection among pupils and teachers and thus to reducing the spread of the virus in the population as a whole.
The Land of North Rhine‑Westphalia is being advised by the law firm Redeker Sellner Dahs, which is also acting as legal counsel in this and other proceedings relating to the subject of Corona. Redeker Sellner Dahs is one of the leading law firms in the field of infection control law relevant to the Corona pandemic. 17 of the firm's attorneys have authored articles in the wide‑ranging commentary by Eckart/Winkelmüller, Beck'scher Kommentar zum Infektionsschutzrecht. The proceedings are being conducted for the State of NRW by the attorneys Dr Michael Winkelmüller, Dr Marco Rietdorf, Theresa Philippi, Dr Moritz Gabriel and Dr Christian Lutsch.