Back to class with double protection


The alarm clock rang too early again for many minors who had to attend the first day of school after Christmas break. After countless doubts, the classes began in person and with a reinforcement of prevention measures in the face of the unstoppable advance of the omicron variant. Despite this, there were many excited children who came to the classrooms eager to show their classmates some of the gifts that Santa Claus or the Three Wise Men had brought them.

Back to class with double protection


The surroundings of the schools were filled with early risers after eight o'clock in the morning and, for another year, the staggered entries were made again with temperature measurement. Like the vast majority of those in Spain, the centers have been complying in an exemplary way with the Covid prevention protocol, which transmits a lot of tranquility to the parents of the students, who were more resigned by having to abandon the comfort of the holidays than by having to comply with all the sanitary regulations, to which they are already accustomed.

Back to class with double protection


The young Carlos Afonso, who is in 5th grade of Primary, has already passed the Covid on two occasions and both times he has been infected at school. Like his parents, on the first day of class he was "calm," although a little sad because the Christmas break had been so short for him. But he extended the magic of these festivities a little more by releasing some of the clothes that the Three Kings gave him. "You can not lose the course for this virus that in the long run will end up becoming one more flu," said Afonso's parents before joining the line to have his temperature taken and to enter school.

Back to class with double protection


Ventilation

Enzo Rodríguez arrived at school "sleepy" and ready to bundle up in class because he knows the importance of complying with sanitary measures and proper ventilation in the classroom is one of them. "It's annoying but we bundle up and that's it," summed up the 5th grade student. Little Martina Quesada came to class at the hands of her father Francisco Quesada, who stressed that "last year everything was new with respect to the pandemic, but this year everything has become more real."

Back to class with double protection


Despite this, he conveyed tranquility and enthusiasm, the same as his daughter, who brought to class one of the dolls that the Three Wise Men gave her to play with her classmates, whom she really wanted to see.

Adrián Hernández and his parents also got up early so as not to be late for class and they acknowledge that "we have all had to adapt to the new measures and we come to school calm, as long as the protocol is complied with."

The parents of the minor explained that just before the holidays, Hernández's class was confined but that now they start this year with hope because «We see our son responsible and we believe that this is because we have instilled in him the correct values».

Isabel Contreras is the mother of one of the 5th grade students and, although she still does not know if she will vaccinate her son, she went to school calmly because she knows that her son has no risky contacts and that her family has few social interactions. Tranquility also showed Sanounou's mother who acknowledged that she did want the Christmas holidays to end to see her companions again. The mother stressed that, "as the educational community does not have the necessary infrastructure for classes to be received at home, there is no other remedy and they must be face-to-face, so you have to be patient and trust in compliance with the protocol."

The directors of the centers agree that this return to class after Christmas is being much more complicated than last year due to the high number of infections. Many centers in the Canary Islands have taken many steps back in terms of their opening, since in recent months parents had been allowed to attend specific meetings and some complementary activities had been organized, attended by external personnel at the center. All this will now have to be suspended since only the workers and students of the school will be able to access. These restrictive measures will continue until the epidemiological situation on the islands improves.

Beyond the Canary Islands, the percentage of teacher dropouts in Spanish public institutes it was around 8% on that first day, and that of students between 10 and 15%. Despite these data, the sector feared a greater number of absences as a consequence of the high transmission of the omicrom variant. The president of the Federation of Associations of Directors of Public Educational Centers (Fedadi), Toni González, indicated that these figures allow the Ministry of Education to be able to handle the situation and look for the pertinent substitutions.

The return to classes in person at all levels and in most parts of the country was carried out under strict compliance with health protocols. However, and despite the fact that the high transmission of the omicron variant is leaving its mark, both in the teaching staff and among the students, this new quarter also started with the recommendation to soften the quarantines in the classrooms. Until now, fully vaccinated students who were in close contact with a positive were exempt from quarantining, and those who were not had to respect a period of seven days.

The new decision of the Public Health Commission determines a quarantine for an entire classroom as long as there are at least five cases of covid or at least 20% of the students are affected, in a period equal to or less than seven days. Thus, in the event that there are four cases or less than 20%, they would be considered sporadic cases and quarantine will not be necessary. This decision joins the rest of the measures adopted by public administrations and the educational community to guarantee maximum attendance.

Before the beginning of the classes, many autonomous communities have updated their protocols and incorporate small new features. However, the main thing for many is to reinforce the measures that had already been recommended and intensify others such as limiting access to school facilities for non-teaching personnel. This is one of the aspects that the Canary Islands emphasize the most, where has opted for scrupulous compliance with the protocol, for continuing to promote the vaccination of students and that families do not take their children to class if they observe symptoms compatible with the virus.

However, the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) also maintains the presence of its teaching, in accordance with the indications of the national and regional authorities, although it has recalled that in this month of January there are no classes as it is in exam period. In addition, it indicates that the ULPGC government team maintains open all communication channels with the management teams of the educational centers, as well as with the Student Council, in order to achieve greater health security for the entire university community in the development of teaching and evaluation tasks.

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