By Matthew Roscoe • 15 February 2022 • 13:59
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
MASKS could be removed from school classrooms in Spain very soon. In fact, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) have laid out a plan to start the removal process by the end of February and have submitted their recommendations to the Spanish government.
In an announcement on Tuesday, February 15, the AEP have proposed a timeline for the progressive removal of masks in classrooms.
The group has stated that they would like to see the removal of the measure in stages “by groups from younger to older, with a reinforcement of ventilation protocols and in line with the proposals from regional pediatric societies.”
AEP coordinator, Quique Bassat, said that the “use of masks in classrooms has been done well” and that “minor children have adapted more quickly and easily than adults.” However, paediatricians “recognise that the time has come for children to remove their masks at school: outside, in the playground, and inside, sitting at their desks,” Bassat said.
The AEP paediatricians propose “the immediate withdrawal of the mandatory use of masks outdoors for all students and the progressive withdrawal of the mandatory use indoors, with a reinforcement of ventilation protocols, in accordance with chronological order and by age groups.”
Bassat reiterated that this is their recommendation and a letter has been said from the AEP secretary to the ministries of Health and Education on February 15.
“The authorities will pick up our suggestions or not, but our duty is to make these recommendations based on scientific evidence,” Bassat said.
Bassat explained that they would like the process to begin with first and second years in primary schools on Monday, February 28 followed by third and fourth-grade students on Monday, March 14. Fifth and sixth graders would remove their masks on Monday, March 28, with the following years removing theirs on April 25 and May 9 respectively.
“This de-escalation process responds to the fact that the AEP has compared the risk of transmission inside the classrooms between the oldest age group that have not had to wear masks (5-year-olds) and the first that have had to wear them (6-year-olds), and it has been seen that the differences in the transmission of the virus between one group and another were not significant”, Bassat pointed out.
Recently, the removal of the mandatory use of masks outdoors in Spain was applauded by the AEP who considered it “incoherent to continue penalising children and maintaining the obligation to wear a mask in the school playground, when they no longer have to wear them when they go out into the street.”
“Thanks to continuous monitoring of the risk of transmission in the classrooms of our country, we have been able to generate data that supports the low risk of eliminating masks in children,” Bassat stressed.
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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