Students will return from face-to-face to the classrooms next Monday, January 10. This has been agreed by the Government and the autonomous communities “unanimously” this Tuesday in an extraordinary meeting, considering that the educational centers are “safe spaces” and when there are six days before the start of classes after the Christmas holidays.
The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has announced the decision and has defended that presence in education is an “absolute priority”, as demonstrated by the seamless consensus reached in the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System, the Education Sector Conference and the General Conference on University Policy. Given the high transmission of the coronavirus in full sixth wave of the pandemic, the Ministries of Health, Education and Universities have met with the regional councils in this framework to address a joint approach.
“We send a message of tranquility and security.
➡️ We are making progress in vaccinating children under 12 years of age and we must maintain prudence without alarmism.
➡️ We will strengthen health protocols to maintain that right to #education what is fundamental“
– Pilar Alegría (@Pilar_Alegria) January 4, 2022
Government, autonomies and educational community, by presence
In the last week, the position of all parties had been unequivocal, in favor of reopening colleges, institutes, universities and other educational centers after Christmas. Minister Darias already assured last week that the “objective” of the Government is to be able to guarantee presence in education. And in parallel, the autonomous communities have also manifested themselves in that sense, in accordance with the criteria of their technicians and in line with the demands of families, students, educational centers and unions.
The experts consulted by RTVE.es have also advocated not to delay the return to classes. “They are the last thing that should be closed and the first thing that should be opened”, they repeat, with a slogan that encapsulates the need to apply other measures to control infections before making decisions that affect the learning and emotional well-being of children and adolescents. Epidemiologists also urge to improve protection in this area, with more ventilation, vaccines and tests, something in which a large part of the educational community agrees.
Throughout the summer of 2021, the Government and the autonomous communities agreed on the bases of a new ‘anti-COVID’ protocol for the second school year in pandemic (2021-2022), which for the moment will continue to mark education until the end of the course. They were more flexible than with the 2020-2021 academic year and opted for maximum presence, mandatory masks from the age of six, less safety distance (it went from 1.5 to 1.2 meters in most cases) and, consequently , the possibility of returning to pre-pandemic student-to-class ratios. This last decision did not please the unions, considering that it diminished the quality of teaching and safety in the face of COVID.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.