Neither the Government nor the autonomous communities will authorize the total or temporary closure of schools due to the pandemic. This was repeated by Minister Isabel Celaá after the Education Sector Conference held this Wednesday together with the regional councilors. Although last Friday Health reported 400 outbreaks in educational centers, Celaá has ensured that this has had an impact only on the closure of 32 schools throughout Spain, 0.11% of the total. Regarding the classrooms, currently there are 5,827 those that are kept in quarantine, 1.37% compared to “98.63% that are functioning normally”, the owner insisted.
The pressure for the government to close schools, as Portugal and the United Kingdom did, has gone in crescendo in the last weeks. The high cumulative incidence and the number of cases reported at the end of January led teachers unions such as CCOO, UGT and CSIF to request the temporary closure of schools and institutes in some autonomous communities or in certain areas with a soaring incidence. But the Government and those responsible for health and education remain firm.
“All the counselors have agreed on the importance of maintaining presence, because the educational center is the safest space in which students can be,” Celaá repeated after the press conference. “The benefits of face-to-face education far outweigh the eventual risks.” In this sense, Education is committed to “not lowering its guard”, maintaining natural ventilation of the classrooms and only in very specific cases opt for HEPA filters or other air purifiers.
In addition, the person in charge of Education has maintained that “in this third wave we have always been below the figures of the second wave and currently we observe a downward trend.” That is, while the closed classrooms now account for 1.37% of the total, at the end of October and the beginning of November that percentage rose to 1.5 and 1.6%.
The minister applauded the efforts of teachers and communities to “continue to keep educational centers open”, which ensures that it has improved “the social affection towards the teachers who are doing this commendable work.” Regarding them, Health announced yesterday that it will vaccinate with the AstraZeneca consignment to teachers under 55 who have not had the disease, among other essential workers. First, to the personnel who attend to early childhood education and special educational needs, and then to those of primary and secondary education.
On what will happen to teachers over 55, Celaá has referred to the Ministry of Carolina Darias. The only thing that he has assured is his insistence from the first moment that the teaching staff were in the first positions of the vaccination plan. “The when, how and where is something that concerns only Health,” he said.