June 14, 2021

The Government proposes the complete return to the classrooms the course that comes with distance and mask



The Government has proposed to the autonomous communities to recover the presence in the classrooms for the next year in Secondary, Baccalaureate and Vocational Training. To this end, the Executive proposes that the security measures that have been implemented this year be maintained during the course, such as the use of masks from the age of six or interpersonal distance, although in this specific case it is lowered to 1.2 meters from one and a half meters to allow more students to fit in the classrooms and make this return possible, which the Executive considers necessary for reasons of academic performance, emotional well-being and equity.

This is stated in the document Proposal of prevention, hygiene and health promotion measures against covid-19 for educational centers in the 2020-2021 academic year that the Government has sent to the communities to evaluate it for the meeting of the Public Health Commission this afternoon. The final decision will be taken, in principle, next Wednesday in the joint meeting between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the autonomous communities.

The Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá, had already warned yesterday that her intention was to have a general return to the classroom. Spain is, along with Sweden, the European country that has kept schools open the most. According to Education, the number of closed classrooms has never exceeded 2% (out of a total of 420,000), which the ministry considers a success.

The document proposes different scenarios depending on the evolution of the pandemic and the alert levels in which they are during the course. Thus, those who are in 1 or 2 will guarantee maximum attendance at all stages, and if the alert level rises to level 3 or 4, students could pass to blended attendance from 3rd year of ESO. Something similar would happen with the safety distance: it is allowed to make it more flexible to 1.2 meters (this year it was 1.5) in order to allow more students to enter each class, although it would be necessary to return to one and a half meters in the case of raise the alert level.

The proposal includes maintaining the stable coexistence groups that have existed this year in Infant and Primary, and sets a maximum of 20 students per group in Infant and 25 students in Primary. In Secondary and Baccalaureate, there is no limit other than that set by the usual ratios (30 and 35 students per classroom with an extra margin of 10%). The text is limited to recommending that the groups be as small as possible. For the FP the proposal is a safety distance of 1.2 meters, expandable to 1.5 meters in the worst scenarios. In all cases, the mandatory use of the mask is maintained from Primary (six years).

Finally, the hygiene measures for cleaning and ventilation of the classrooms are maintained (summarized in: as much as possible, ideally continuously), it is proposed to carry out all possible outdoor activities and the generalized purchase of meters is not recommended. of CO2 beyond specific uses if there are doubts about the levels.

It remains to be seen the modifications that the autonomous communities propose to this proposal next Wednesday, when the ministries of Education and Health meet with the counselors of the branch of the autonomous communities. That day the final document will be approved, in principle. Based on it, the regional governments will have to define their specific strategy for the coming academic year, which includes the size of the classes and, therefore, the hiring or not of more supplementary teachers, as has happened in this anus.

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