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Back to school: Agreed safety procedures revealed
28 August 2020 @ 19:17

COMPULSORY masks for all children aged six and over – including on school buses – and temperatures taken upon entry every morning are some of the moves agreed as part of Spain's back-to-class strategy.

The new term begins at different times in different regions, but pupils will start filtering back into the classroom from Friday, September 4.

Education minister Isabel Celaá, health minister Salvador Illa and territorial policy and public functions minister Carolina Darias met with representatives from all 17 of Spain's autonomously-governed regions, plus those of the two city-provinces of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern Moroccan coast.

They all managed to agree on 29 specific measures and five recommendations to be adopted ahead of the new academic year in September, except the Basque Country, which abstained when they were voted upon.

Children attending class in person is a priority, at least up to second year of high school (aged 12 and 13), since in the event of further outbreaks that make it advisable to stay at home, it is considered that teens aged 14 to 18 and university students would have the maturity and self-discipline to follow lessons remotely from home – also, above age 14, they do not need to have a parent at home with them during the day if this is not possible due to adult working hours.

Distances of at least 1.5 metres between children, and between kids and teachers, must be kept as far as is practical, and emphasis should be placed on ensuring children wash their hands regularly.

Rooms should be kept ventilated as much as possible and cleaned and disinfected stringently.

If three people – pupils or teachers – at any school become infected, this will be treated as an 'outbreak' and the school temporarily shut, although two or fewer will only affect specific class groups.

Shutting an entire school will be a 'last resort' to prevent uncontrolled contagion.

Where this happens, or a single class group has to close down, all pupils in that group or in the school, and all teachers who have been in contact with them, will be PCR-tested and ordered to quarantine for at least 14 days.

School lunches will still be served, although children will be expected to sit at least 1.5 metres apart.

No specific instructions have been issued for class sizes, but regional governments have taken on more teachers this year to enable them to cut group numbers, and it is recommended that no more than 15 to 20 children form part of each class.



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