BETWEEN 2,000 and 2,500 Madrid teachers have showed positive for Covid-19 in serological tests, the regional Education and Youth minister Enrique Ossorio reported on Sunday.
This represents more than 3.5 per cent of the approximately 66,000 of the teaching and school staff in the region who have had the test.
They must now undergo PCR tests for the virus before going back into the classrooms.
If they test positive in the second test they will be substituted by temporary staff, who will be in addition to the 10,600 already taken on, the regional minister explained.
Madrid has so far carried out tests for Covid-19 on approximately 90 per cent of the autonomous community’s teaching staff, according to Ossorio.
“We want all teachers to undergo the serological test before the term starts to provide safety for all society”, he commented.
The region’s teacher testing campaign hit the headlines last week when queues stretching back as far as 1.5 kilometres formed outside some centres on Wednesday morning as many turned up at the same time.
A good number of the waiting teachers and school staff complained they had only been given 24 hours’ notice about the test, and pointed out that safe social distancing while standing in line was all but impossible.
The situation prompted the Education Ministry to postpone the testing for a couple of days and led to an apology to teachers from Ossorio.
“They had to wait many hours, and that is not right”, he said.
The regional minister also called for calm among both teachers and parents over the return of children to school next week.
He maintained that the Madrid administration has put into practice “a historic reinforcement” of health and safety measures, with reduced teacher-pupil ratios in classes, contracting extra teaching staff and guaranteeing safe distances between desks.
Ossorio did admit that “some infection” is “inevitable”, which as the “last option” would mean closing a school, but added that the experience of other European countries has shown that “the system works.
“Spain and Madrid cannot stop and education cannot stop” he insisted.
Classes start up again in Madrid on Tuesday and Wednesday.