A mirror for Argentina? Back to school in Spain, with mandatory chinstrap and strict protocols

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To the forced closure of classrooms in March due to the virus, the summer vacation months were added between June and September. Now each region has established its schedule.

Staggered and uncertain. This is how back to school is turning out in Spain after six months without school. Because in this part of the hemisphere, to the forced closure of classrooms in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the summer vacation months were added between June and September.

Each of the 17 autonomous communities that make up Spain regulated his own school calendar for the more than eight million primary and secondary students who will go to class this year, although with a common denominator: the protests of teachers and unions over the start of classes in which they consider that they are not adequately protected against possible contagion , the confusion of families that do not feel protected and even consider not sending their children to class and the tranquility that the Spanish government and the autonomies try to convey.

The Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá, downplayed the importance of some communities delaying the start of the school year: “The important thing is that 175 school days are completed that are marked, ”he said.

According to Celaá, repeating the closure of the schools that Spain experienced in March due to the health crisis that caused the coronavirus would only be considered if “an uncontrolled transmission of the virus” was generated.

“The intention is that the last to close are the schools,” he stressed.

Five autonomous communities, Cantabria, the Basque Country, La Rioja, Valencia and Aragon, they opened their classrooms this Monday. Madrid and Navarra did it a few days ago, although with controversy in the community that encompasses the capital of Spain, where classes begin this Tuesday for girls and boys from the garden, those from primary school -to third grade- and the boys who attend Special education.

The use of the chinstrap It is mandatory from 6 years And, along with the supplies -which they cannot share with their classmates-, each student must bring a spare mask and alcohol gel for individual use.

“We have acquired two million rapid tests so that the whole class can be tested on the same day, if a case is detected in the classroom, and disinfect the entire school. If no one is infected, then only the one who is infected would go home “, explained the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who a few days ago worried all of Spain with an unhappy statement:” Throughout the academic year. it is probable that practically all children, in one way or another, are infected, “she said in an interview.

It was not his intention to anguish Spanish families but, paradoxically, to reinforce the idea that, at school, your children will be safe: “People are already getting it, and children are already getting it. Everyone is catching it and we haven’t started school. Schools are going to become very safe places, ”said Díaz Ayuso.

“Parents, with that logical unease of all parents, which we always have, they have to apply common sense and realize that education is very important, that their children have to go to the centers and that, perhaps, they have less chance of being infected in the center than in other activities that these children can do, “said the counselor of Education and Youth of Madrid, Enrique Ossorio.

This community’s plan for back to school includes serological tests for teachers and administrative staff. The objective is to do about 100,000 tests that began to be practiced on September 2 amid protests by teachers over the lines, delays and the crowding without safety distance that the influx of teachers implied in the centers where the tests were made .

Of the 66 thousand people who have undergone a serological test, so far, between 2,000 and 2,500 will have to undergo a PCR – more reliable to detect the Covid-19 infection – for having tested positive.

“Those 2,000 are those who, as a result of the first antibody test, they have to do a PCR to confirm his situation, ‘said Councilor Ossorio. It does not mean at all that they will be positive, but it is likely that a very small part of those 2,000 will test positive. “

Unions ask the hiring of 40,000 more teachers in all Spain. Only for the community of Madrid, its president plans to employ about 11 thousand more.

Spaniards have been witnessing for days, in addition, the comings and goings on another issue that burns in the heads of parents: ¿¿Who stays home with the boys if they catch it or should they quarantine for having been in contact with a positive case?

The Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, had announced that parents who had to take care of their covid-positive children would receive paid leave not to go to work. But the part of the coalition government to the left of the left was for more: the second vice president and leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, assured that the paid leave would also be granted to mothers or fathers who must take care of children who are not infected but quarantined.

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