The Government will decide this Wednesday with the Autonomous Communities what measures safety and hygiene for prevent contagion of covid-19 will be established for the next school course 2021-2022 in a new meeting of the joint Interterritorial Council for Health and Education, which will take place at 4:00 p.m. The press conference, in which the Ministers of Health, Carolina Darias, and of Education, Isabel Celaá, will appear, is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. You can follow her here live.

During the meeting, the Ministers of Education and Health and the regional councilors will debate the proposals prepared by Health and Education, reflected in the document ‘Proposal of prevention, hygiene and health promotion measures against COVID-19 for educational centers in the 2021-2022 academic year‘.

Among them, they highlight that the next school year will be face-to-face at all educational stages and that safety and hygiene measures be maintained to stop COVID-19 infections, such as the use of masks, the ‘bubble groups‘ and the safety distance between students and teachers, although in this sense it is proposed that instead of 1.5 meters of separation, it can be reduced to 1.2 meters in some courses.

According to the document, the “maximum presence” for all levels and stages of the educational system, at least in the new normal scenario, alert level 1 and 2.

Distance and mask

Likewise, the text, which is subject to change, establishes that a distance interpersonal of at least 1.5 meter in interactions among adults in the educational center, maintaining the use of mask regardless of distance. It also advocates generally maintaining an interpersonal distance of at least 1.5 meters. by the students when they move around the center educational or are out of the classroom.

However, inside the classroom, the safety distance between students would vary according to the course and according to the alert scenario. Thus, for 1st and 2nd of ESO, is proposed in alert level 1 and 2, “a distance of 1.5 meters, with possibility of flexing to 1.2 meters“, as well as for the students of 3rd and 4th of ESO, Basic FP, Baccalaureate and Official Language Teaching, with the aim of “guaranteeing presence”.

It is recommended “to minimize the time of distance education, opting for organizational options that facilitate attending class every day”

However, in these courses (3rd and 4th ESO and Basic FP), if the alert level of the community is in 3 to 4, the distance will be minimum of 1.5 meters and / or outdoor classes, and so exceptional, will advocate for blendedness, prioritizing the attendance of students with social or academic difficulties.

In this sense, and to “preserve the presence”, it is recommended to “minimize the time of distance education, opting for organizational options that facilitate attending class every day (attending three hours first thing in the morning for half the group, and three hours in the middle of the morning for the other half of the group) or almost every day (distance education of 20% of the class every day of the week) “.

On Intermediate and Higher Degree FP and in Artistic and Sports Education, the measurements will be the same as in high school and, when applicable, the measures that correspond to their professional field of reference will be adopted.

Bubble groups

With regard to the Stable Coexistence Groups (GCE), also called ‘bubble groups’ (groups formed by a limited number of students together with the tutor whose interaction will be limited to the group), the possibility that within the group no need to keep interpersonal distance, so that “its members can socialize and play with each other, interacting more normally”.

The number of students that will integrate each of these groups will be a maximum of 20 in Early Childhood Education from 3 to 6 years old and 25 students in the case of Primary Education. For Infant Education from 0 to 3 years old and for Special Education, the groups will have a maximum size according to the ratios established in the regional regulations.

Mandatory mask from 6 years

In relation to the use of the mask, the document proposes that its use should continue to be mandatory after 6 years and for all teachers, regardless of maintaining interpersonal distance or belonging to a ‘bubble group’.

The mask indicated for the healthy population will be the hygienic type and whenever possible reusable. Likewise, its use will be mandatory in the School bus collective from 6 years, and recommended from 3 to 5 years.

Classroom ventilation

The text also emphasizes the ventilation of the centers, considering “preferential” that this is natural. At this point, ventilation is recommended crusade, if possible in a way permanent, with opening doors and / or windows opposite or at least on different sides of the room, to promote air circulation and guarantee an efficient sweep throughout the space.

They do not recommend the general purchase of CO2 meters by the centers

According to the document, the centre’s facilities should be ventilated frequently, if possible permanently, including at least for 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the day, during recess, and whenever possible between classes, also guaranteeing good ventilation in the corridors; and with the necessary accident prevention measures.

If natural ventilation is not sufficient, the Government suggests that it can be used forced ventilation (mechanical), the supply of outside air must be increased and the fraction of air recirculating to the maximum must be reduced, in order to obtain adequate air renewal. Only if adequate ventilation cannot be achieved by natural or mechanical ventilation, they could be used filters or air purifiers (equipped with HEPA filters) and as an alternative, the use of other spaces (classrooms or rooms of the educational center, or municipal) can be valued. Y the widespread purchase of CO2 meters is not recommended by educational centers.

Hiring more teachers

Teacher unions, educational centers and parents’ associations consider the measures proposed for the next school year reasonable, but many of them agree on one thing: more teachers would have to be hired in order to do so. continue reducing ratios, since the number of students per class would increase if the social distancing was reduced from 1.5 to 1.2 meters.

In Spain, more than 2 million AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered.  Of which only 97 people have received the complete guideline with it.  For the rest, mostly essential workers, two options are considered: administering a second dose with a different vaccine or, directly, not injecting them at all, since with the first it reaches an efficacy of 70%.

“UGT demands in the first place to finish the vaccination process of the personnel of the educational centers, to maintain the safety distance that all the experts continue to establish at 1.5 meters, which undoubtedly entails a decrease in ratios (excessive in government proposals), adaptation of spaces and reinforcement of teaching staff, which as UGT came demanding, should suppose no less than the recruitment of 70,000 teachers“, they affirm from UGT, while CC OO numbers in 71,700 the professors who would have to be incorporated to guarantee a safe presence.

“Lowering the safety distance to 1.2 meters means that more students can fit in a classroom, but given the characteristics of the classrooms in our centers, there will be quite a few cases in which not all students will enter, given the ratios that we handle in this country “, they indicate from the Federation of Associations of School Directors (FEDADI), which also asks to hire more teachers.

For their part, CECE and Catholic Schools claim that the reinforcement teaching staff be maintained for the next academic year and parent associations such as COFAPA or CEAPA highlight the importance of presence.

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