By Ron Howells • 06 September 2021 • 11:08
Madrid has not ruled out “blended” return to school due to Omicron
Schools across Spain start to open with Covid preventative measures in place.
The 2021-2022 academic year begins in the next few days for more than eight million students from all over Spain but is causing a great deal of uncertainty and anxiousness among parents and children alike.
While teachers strive to make up for lost time, communities around Spain will re-apply the bulk of prevention measures that were put in place last year, although more spaces for relaxation to alleviate organisational difficulties will be opened up.
This is turning out to be a worry for many parents due to the rise in younger people of coronavirus- the vaccination campaign has only just targeted 12-year-olds who will undoubtedly be mixing with younger children in break times and play areas.
For example, lower restrictions this year mean an increase in the maximum limit of students allowed in bubble groups, both in kindergarten and primary school, and the minimum distance between tables in secondary school is reduced from 1.5 to 1.2 meters.
Each community decides its school calendar, based on its own criteria, needs, contexts and traditions. This year, unlike last year in which the health crisis forced the return to classrooms of the different courses and stages to be staggered much more, it returns to a more classic scenario.
Some communities, such as Murcia and Navarra, have allowed schools to choose between several dates to start classes.
Are masks at school still mandatory?
Masks will continue to be required for children over six years of age and can only be removed when consuming food and beverages, according to the protocol agreed for this year between the Government and the autonomous communities.
The text reads that Masks must fit properly and always be worn within less than 2 metres distance away from other pupils.
The government also recommends that parents should opt for hygienic masks “whenever possible reusable” and insists that the mask should not be removed when coughing or sneezing, but rather that “the mouth and nose should be covered with the tie wraps flexed (adding slight tension).”
The maximum recommended useable time of face masks are four hours, so two per day would be necessary. Teachers should always wear them indoors, regardless of the distance, adds the recommendations.
During outdoor activities, both teachers and students over six years of age take off their masks if they meet the minimum distance of 1.5 meters.
Catalan students will not have to wear face masks at breaks, as long as they only interact with classmates. It must be remembered that the protocol is a general agreement between the Government and the communities and that they can vary and adapt it according to their circumstances, their available resources and their own analysis of the situation.
Research has shown the enormous importance of good indoor ventilation to reduce the transmission of COVID.
The correct ventilation of a classroom will depend greatly on its characteristics, however, the official protocol explains that the main thing is cross ventilation when it comes to the natural method, that is, opening doors and windows at least on two different sides of the room.
If this were not enough, it will be necessary to resort to mechanical ventilation, with devices that renew the air. Undoubtedly, images of students with blankets or with their coats on in class will be repeated this year. In addition, the cleaning of furniture and other objects of common use should be maintained.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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