The ‘back to school’ will be face-to-face after Kings throughout Spain, starting on January 10 and for all educational levels, as agreed by the Government and autonomous communities. In the middle of the sixth wave of COVID-19 and with the incidents triggered throughout the territory, the authorities assure that the classrooms are “safe spaces”, which have so far acted as “containment” dams for contagions, thanks to prevention measures (masks, ventilation, safety distance …).
Another key to avoiding transmission has been compliance with the protocols in the case of detecting a positive for coronavirus, guidelines for action that have been changing as the pandemic and vaccination have progressed.
Hereinafter, we answer some of the most frequent questions of students, parents facing the resumption of the course.
Do vaccinated students have to isolate themselves if there is a positive in their class?
Usually not. According to the latest version of the Action guide for the appearance of COVID-19 cases in educational centers, vaccinated people (students or teachers) are exempt from quarantine if they have the full agenda, except if they are immunosuppressed.
In any case, if they are close contacts Two diagnostic tests will be performed, one immediately after being identified and another approximately seven days after the last contact.
Although they should not be isolated, the Ministry of Health recommends that they maintain certain prevention measures, such as avoiding being with vulnerable people or attending mass events, reduce your social gatherings and always wear a mask. They should watch for COVID-19 symptoms in the days following contact.
Are single-dose students also exempt from quarantine?
No, the Health protocol only exempts people from quarantine vaccinated with the full regimen of mRNA drugs, that is, two pricks. Students who are not vaccinated or have received only the first dose should isolate themselves at home.
In general, outside the classrooms, seven-day quarantines have been established, but in the latest guide to action in the school environment (September) it continues to indicate ten days of isolation.
Do all unvaccinated students have to be quarantined?
No. Those who have had the coronavirus infection in the six months (180 days) prior to close contact with an infected person are also exempt from isolating themselves. It will be necessary to provide the PCR test that shows that COVID-19 has been passed in that period. Like the vaccinated, Two diagnostic tests will be performed, one immediately after being identified and another approximately seven days after the last contact.
Who is considered close contact?
Close contact is considered to be those who have passed more than 15 minutes without mask with a person positive for coronavirus from two days before the onset of symptoms. In asymptomatic cases, it will be taken into account from two days before the test. Thus, close contacts are considered:
- Students of the same bubble group or “stable coexistence group”, a modality that is used in Primary and Infant schools that allows some control measures to be relaxed, such as the mask or the safety distance, because the interaction always happens between the same children.
- If the class is not organized as a “bubble group”, it is considered close contact to the companions seated around, less than two meters and for more than 15 minutes without proper use of the mask. This must be evaluated by the teacher or the center’s COVID coordinator.
- The same goes for the school bus: People located within a radius of two seats, for more than 15 minutes and without a mask will be considered.
- The cohabiting of confirmed cases, such as a sister who attends the same center.
- The teachers who have been less than two meters away, for more than 15 minutes accumulated during the day and without a mask. Where appropriate, it will be taken into account in the evaluation that they carry out an essential activity.
When is an outbreak considered?
Health considers the detection of three or more cases in a bubble group or in a classroom when an epidemiological link can be established between them.
An outbreak in a class other than a bubble group it does not have to involve the confinement of all the students in the classroom. But if the center detects outbreaks in several classrooms that are related to each other, it can assess and determine the suspension of classes for those groups. The temporary closure of the entire school or institute would not come until an uncontrolled transmission of the virus was identified, something very rare given the prevention measures.
Are there work permits to take care of my quarantined child?
There is no paid “sick leave” for the cases of fathers and mothers who have to take care of their children in quarantine for having tested positive for COVID or being close contact, although there is an expanded formula of the “day adaptation” for these cases, the so-called MECUIDA plan, extended until February 28, 2022.
In this way, it must be agreed with the company (a notice of 24 hours in advance is enough) and can lead to lost wages depending on the reduction of the working day. It includes the possibility of teleworking, changing the schedule, the work center, the functions …
The Family Union he regretted that the agreement was not accompanied by measures for a “real conciliation”. The group, which has celebrated the return to classes after Reyes, demands paid leave for parents who have to take care of their children in quarantine.
What happens if a student is infected and cannot go to an exam?
In the case of schools and institutes, a protocol has not been transcended, so the situation must be assessed in each center. For the university students, The Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, has advanced that he is working with the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) so that students who cannot take the face-to-face exams due to being confined by COVID-19, “do not lose the examination session and have the possibility of a second chance. “” We are going to apply the logic of face-to-face presence both to exams and to classes, “Subirats said at the press conference after the agreement with the communities.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.