The ‘back to school’ begins normally in Spain

After the Christmas break, schools throughout Spain They have reopened their doors this Monday to continue classes in person at all levels of education, with the exception of universities. The students have accepted the end of the holidays with more or less optimism. “He was lazy,” a boy complained on TVE just before entering his educational center.

With a little more than parents have assumed the concern back to class. In the sixth wave of the coronavirus pandemic and at very high risk due to the high numbers of infections, some have faced uncertainty to changes in health protocols agreed between the Government and the communities.

“From the beginning the rules have been a bit contradictory with each other,” a mother told the newscast, while others have accepted that sooner or later there will be outbreaks in some classrooms: “A case will almost certainly be, by how are the numbers now “.

Despite everything, families have brought their children to class, showing their confidence in the experience acquired by educators during the last school year, in the advance in vaccination among the smallest and on the advice of experts, who assure that schools “are the last thing to close and the first to open”, since “they are spaces where transmission control is exercised quite well.”

Numerous casualties among teachers

For their part, the teachers have closely followed the attendance of their students. María Pilar Azurmendi, director of the Vedruna school in Pamplona, ​​has indicated in RNE that the day has passed “normally, without a high incidence of student absence”, while the president of the Federation of Associations of Directors of Public Educational Centers (FEDADI ), Toni González, has indicated to Efe that in public institutes student absences have been between 10 and 15%.

Beyond the possible contagions between the students, another of the main concerns of the day have been the lack of the teachers themselves on the first day of class.

Discharges of the teaching staff due to the impact of the omicron variant they have oscillated between 6 and 8% of the total workforce, according to calculations by unions and educational centers, while the first estimates by Comisiones Obreras (CC. OO.) suggest that between 4 and 6% of teachers were low due to COVID-19.

14 hours – Communities expedite the substitutions of teachers on sick leave by omicron – Listen now

Thus, Extremadura has reported 100 withdrawals of 16,000 teachers and the Balearic Islands around 300, just over 1% of their teachers, figures similar to those reported in Murcia and Castilla-La Mancha.

Cantabria, the Basque Country and La Rioja have around 2% of their teachers infected, while Andalusian educational centers have registered 0.87% of the public workforce.

Given this, many Education ministries have announced that they are speeding up substitutions to guarantee classes for students. An example of this is Galicia, where of the 800 casualties 700 have already been covered. In Castilla-La Mancha, last Friday began a more agile replacement process for teachers through telephone calls and during this Monday others are being replaced.

Unions criticize lack of foresight

However, the unions have criticized the lack of reinforcement measures and personnel in the face-to-face return to the classrooms. DC. OO. he estimates that only to fill the positions will require about 37,500 hires and has demanded that the substitutions be expedited so that the centers “can assume the quarter with guarantees.” In addition, it warns that the incidence in the personnel of the centers “may grow in the coming days.”

“The autonomous communities have not acted with foresight and there are no homogeneous criteria for substitutions“, has also said the head of Education of the CSIF, Mario Gutiérrez.

“This morning the educational centers of all Spain have dawned with thousands of casualties. Teachers have had to improvise on the march “, has denounced this union, that indicates that in some regions the losses have been counted since last Friday, but the” vast majority “has not acted until now.

For its part, UGT maintains in a statement that it is “risky for the educational community that this second quarter begins with 100% presence” and considers that “the logical thing would have been wait a couple of weeks to begin this second quarter with full attendance “.

Less rigid quarantines

After the debate, the centers open their doors with a common framework to confine the classes. The Public Health Commission agreed last Friday to recommend quarantine for an entire classroom whenever there are at least five cases or at least 20% of the students are affected, in a period equal to or less than seven days.

Likewise, it was agreed to consider close contact to those who have spent more than 15 minutes without a mask with a person who is positive for coronavirus for two days before the onset of symptoms. In asymptomatic cases, it will be taken into account from two days before the test.

Catalonia was the only autonomy that voted against, stating that the change was too “hasty” protocol, while other regions such as Madrid and Andalusia had already decided changes to quarantines.

Madrid announced that in general, and in sporadic cases, they will not be carried out and in the event of outbreaks -which it considers from three or more-, Public Health will indicate the actions to be followed.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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