Government and communities have reached an agreement to implement 23 measures and five recommendations for going back to school, from which only the Basque Country has dropped. “There is a commitment to follow these measures but not only these,” said the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, referring to the different plans that will be launched by the autonomies, which have the powers in educational matters. What the Government has emphasized in the press conference after the meeting with the Education and Health counselors is that going back to school is compulsory for minors between the ages of six and 16 due to the possibility that there are fathers and mothers who refuse to attend class fearing that it is not a safe environment. What the Executive has not specified is what measures in the matter of conciliation it intends to adopt for those parents who have to take care of their children in case they are in quarantine and cannot work.
Masks, temperature controls and a health protocol if there is a positive: the novelties of the plan for going back to school
The Government will commission a report to the State legal services to address the eventual truancy due to COVID-19. “It will be made available to the communities in a future meeting,” Minister Isabel Celaá explained. However, she recalled that education is a fundamental right and that compulsory education extends from six to 16 years. “It is mandatory to attend class and take an exam,” said the head of Education, Isabel Celaá. “We are working for a safe and highly controlled school environment,” said the minister, who recognized that “there is no zero risk” before ruling that “the school as it is being prepared is much safer than other areas of socialization in which the student can be led ”.
In fact, the action guide for cases in schools approved today also states that “The closure of educational centers as a measure to control transmission has proven to be ineffective and have a negative impact on the level of development and education of the population in the learning stage.” Illa has specified that he refers to the closure of schools. schools as an isolated measure would have been insufficient to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “An isolated measure such as educational stoppage in isolation does not have to have an effect,” he pointed out. In the event that schools have to be closed due to the epidemiological situation, the The decision will correspond to the communities, as explained by Illa. This guide indicates that it will be done only in the event that community transmission is detected in the center, if not, less drastic actions will be taken, which may include the suspension of classes or closure of specific classrooms.
Asked if sanctions are foreseen in the event that families take their children to school knowing that they are infected, the Minister of Health has been blunt: “Being as we are, I cannot conceive of a father or mother carrying a child to the center knowing that it puts the health of others at risk. If not, this has no solution. ”
However, the Government does not clarify what measures it intends to implement to guarantee the conciliation of those fathers or mothers who have to take care of the minors in the event that they have to remain in quarantine, which is one of the concerns of the families . “This document that we have agreed this morning does not include an issue of conciliation,” said Celaá, who has guaranteed that the “Government is always, has been and will be concerned about giving an answer to the families.” “We will think of responses according to the needs of the families,” he added. Yesterday, the Government did announce that they are studying a modality of leave or permits for these situations, but it has not yet been specified.
Illa and Celaá have highlighted five measures adopted for going back to school: the interpersonal distance of 1.5 meters, the mandatory mask from the age of six in all groups, hand hygiene at least five times a day, ventilation frequent and constant – Illa has said that the ideal would be to have the windows open if possible. If not, ventilation must be before the start of the day, during recesses and, where appropriate, during the exchange of classes. The last one is taking the temperature before the day, which can be done at home with a responsible statement or at the educational center.
However, Illa does not see it necessary to test members of the educational community. “Communities can act conveniently” as they consider, but doing PCR or massive serological tests is not a ministerial order because “there is a broad consensus in science and among epidemiologists that indiscriminate action with PCR or serological tests does not make much sense. more effective ways ”to reduce the risk of contagion, defends the minister. “It never hurts but it is not the most efficient way to act,” he added, although he does see useful “screening” that some counseling services are already doing “depending on” the environment of the center and the incidence rate.
In addition to the measures related to going back to school, communities and Health have decided on a second “coordinated action in public health” with the communities: to advance the flu vaccination campaign. Typically, each year began in late October and early November; this year, it will be “the first fortnight of October, ideally the first week.” With this orientation, each autonomous government decides its influenza vaccination schedule.
The objective will be to reach 75% coverage for people over 65 and 60% for people at risk, in contact with people at risk, and pregnant women. “Residential centers” will be prioritized. That the vaccination campaign for this course intensifies is relevant against the COVID-19 pandemic, since many of the symptoms of both viruses are confused and in flu season the diagnostic systems could be overloaded, in addition to deteriorating health of people who can suffer from both pathologies.