THE third wave of coronavirus is raising concern in schools, with parents, students and teachers demanding better safety guarantees and updated protocols.
Although the percentage of clases quarantined by Covid is still lower, there has been a significant rise since the beginning of the second term.
Before the Christmas holidays, there were about 2,500 classes confined (0.6 per cent of the total), but now, there are 1.4 per cent (5,800), according to the Ministry of Education based on information from the different regions of Spain.
Despite the rise, the Ministry of Education and the Regional Departments of Education are currently not considering closing schools or going back to online teaching, and schools remain open.
The educational community believes that face-to-face teaching is better than online, but demand more guarantees of safety and new protocol, as the situation has changed since September and those which were put in place at the beginning of the academic year, are no longer valid, the president of the National Association of Teaching Professionals (ANPE) Nicolas Fernandez, said.
The union is demanding proper ventilation and CO2 meters, air purifiers, more PCR or antigen tests, provision of FFP2 masks and that teachers, as “essential work personnel”, are made a priority group in the second phase of vaccination. ANPE also wants to see schools equipped with nursing professionals to carry out the functions of Covid manager.
Different schools, they say, are acting in different ways, when deciding, for example, when to confine a teacher. In some cases, if there is a positive case in class, students and teachers in the same bubble are sent home; in others, unless the teacher is infected, they must continue their lessons.
Valencia is the region with the highest incidence, and parents and unions are asking for a return to online learning. In Andalucia, it is also being requested, or at least in towns with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Meanwhile, there is also concern that, as in March, not all families are prepared to go back to online education, as they do not have the digital means and no provision for this has been provided. Nor has the curriculum been adapted for a situation of confinement.
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