The return to school after the Christmas holidays has resulted in a large number of casualties by teachers due to the barrage of covid infections. The latest data used by the Ministry of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands date from Tuesday, January 18, and show that 5.2% of the teaching staff, that is, 1,639 professionals are infected nowadays. This is the worst data of the pandemic within the educational field in the Canary Islands for the second consecutive week. Faced with this situation, dismissals and substitutions become a constant in educational centers. However, Education has ruled out the hiring of new teachers since it maintains that the Canarian educational system has enough professionals to face the crisis.
In this sense, the Minister of Education, Manuela Armas, explained that the change in the period of confinement, which is now only seven days, has had a notable effect on being able to deal with teacher casualties. Thus, he reported that "it takes about three days to process the withdrawal and the teachers who are part of the reserve lists have another two days to appear in the classroom, so the substitute would be in the classroom, at most, two days". That is why he explained that, in the case of Compulsory Secondary Education, "to deal with this situation safely and, above all, quickly, educational centers have a short substitution plan within their contingency plan." Thus, the teachers hired at the center allocate their on-call or non-teaching hours to substitute their sick classmates.
Confined classrooms increase, with 108 currently, 46 more than last week
In the case of Primary Education, Armas recalled that the Ministry of Education hired last September 1,658 reinforcement teachers, to which are added another 1,016 allocated to attention to diversity. "We have a larger workforce than years ago and thanks to them we can also deal with replacement plans," said the counselor, who added that in recent times the number of flying teachers who are in charge of care for the withdrawals from the unitary schools and that, at present, they can also go to other centers to deal with this situation.
In this way, La Gomera and El Hierro have come to have two teachers flyers each one of them and La Palma Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, with a dozen each one of them. Although Tenerife and Gran Canaria were going to have 14 mobile teachers, this week it has been approved that the first of them increases these teachers even more and reaches 19. It is a measure that came into force after the summer holidays Christmas and that it is expected to continue, at least, until the 31st of this month. However, if the situation requires it, it can be extended over time.
As for the rest of the data on infections in non-university education centers in the Canary Islands, the number of confined classrooms is increasing, with 108 currently (0.6%), 46 more than last week. The total number of infections among students has also increased, reaching 12,988, 583 more than the previous statistic. Thus, the 3.3% of students are infected in the Canary Islands right now. In any case, the Minister of Education trusted that "we are at the plateau of the wave and we hope that from now on we will begin to experience a decrease in the number of cases and the situation, therefore, will also improve in educational centers" .
Fully vaccinated students will not be quarantined, regardless of the number of cases in their class
These complicated moments in educational centers take place the same week in which the adaptation of the action guide before the appearance of covid cases in schools. This new document now makes it very difficult for all the factors to be met to have to confine an entire class. Before the appearance of a case, and up to a total of four, or less than 20% of the components of the classroom, quarantines will not be carried out regardless of the vaccination status of students and teachers. In the event that there are five or more cases or more than 20% of the students are affected, students who have the complete vaccination schedule will be exempt from quarantine and will continue to attend class, while those who are incompletely vaccinated or not vaccinated, they must keep home quarantine for seven days. The counselor Manuela Armas recalled that this new guide is a document written by the Alerts Report of the Ministry of Health and that it has only been sent to the centers through the Ministry of Education: "If they have decided to implement these measures It will be because it is better that way”.
Vaccination in voluntary schools
Despite the good pace of the vaccination campaign in the pediatric population in the Canary Islands, the health authorities, in collaboration with the educational authorities, are considering the possibility of reinforcing this plan with inoculation in new spaces, such as educational centers. The Minister of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands, Manuela Armas, explained yesterday that "health centers should be the places where the vaccine is administered", but added that in the current situation "we must all pitch in" and for that reason He explained that his cabinet does not rule out the implementation of a pilot project so that the vaccination of the pediatric population in the Canary Islands is carried out in some educational centers. However, he clarified that these spaces will have to volunteer to participate in this program and the Public Administration will never impose the implementation of the vaccination campaign in educational facilities that do not want it. Armas added that this proposal will only be implemented in the capital islands, since the rate of vaccination in the rest of the territories is so good that it will not be necessary to set up new spaces. | PG