Monday, August 2

Do we have to go back to school? Concern about ventilation in the face of intense cold and the third wave of Covid


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“The facilities of the center will be ventilated frequently, at least for 10-15 minutes at the beginning and end of the day, during recess, and whenever possible between classes, keeping the windows open as long as possible.”

This was determined by the protocol agreed between the Ministry of Health and Education to stop the advance of Covid in the classrooms. It was August 27. “A lot has snowed” since then and the educational community wonders what to do from today when students from almost all communities return to school with low temperatures and under the threat of the third wave of Covid. For now, the storm Filomena has forced the suspension of the cases in Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Aragon, in some areas and provinces of Castilla y León and in 27 municipalities of Valencian Community.

Unions such as Workers’ Commissions, CSIF, UGT, that of teachers, ANPE have demanded that the protocols be updated and, the last two, have also demanded the delay in the resumption of classes, taking into account the new problems brought by Filomena.

In the case of UGT, «we are concerned about two issues: the ventilation of the centers (which had been an important measure during the first quarter to combat the pandemic) and that right now, we have evidence that the different educational administrations have not planned a alternative system to the manual, in general terms; as well as the long delay in the digitization plan that could guarantee quality semi-face-to-face or distance education “, he criticizes Maribel loranca, head of the teaching sector at UGT.

Given the current situation, this union also requested the delay of the resumption of classes in all the communities that have already done so (Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencian Community, Aragón), in addition to Extremadura, where the Secondary classes, Baccalaureate and FP will be resumed on January 11 in online mode for a week but due to the high incidence of coronavirus. “We do not rule out that, after a few days, and depending on the health situation, after evaluating the incidence of the Christmas holidays, it is necessary to raise the same in other communities. And in the autonomous city of Ceuta, at the request of the unions, the return to school has also been postponed until antigen tests are carried out on workers in educational centers.

In the case of CC.OO «safe presence has been requested but if it is not guaranteed, we will request that the centers be closed. At the moment we have not done it because thanks to the work of the directors, teachers, Covid coordinators, the schools have not become a focus of the pandemic. But the protocols do have to be updated, especially with regard to ventilation: the health authorities will have to say what to do, whether to use air quality meters or filters… The ventilation with ten degrees below zero does not seem practicable “, points out Paco García, secretary general of the CC.OO Teaching Federation, who is committed to continuing to reduce the ratios (students per classroom) and for that he asks to hire more teachers .

Nicolás Fernández Guisado, president of ANPE, has indicated to ABC that although they have always defended presence, “now it would be convenient to delay a week and review all protocols and compliance with them to return safely to the classrooms from 18 January”.

Guisado has criticized that the Ministry of Education “has been inhibited and has left the decision in the hands of the communities.” The president of ANPE has also asked that the Covid teacher contracts that have been canceled at Christmas be maintained for the duration of the pandemic.

CSIF, for its part, which manifested itself before the effects of Filomena were known, demanded through a statement that the communities review their protocols in the classrooms before the third wave of Covid. “The reincorporation to the centers after the Christmas period occurs with great uncertainty due to the evolution of the pandemic, with the increase in infections, the greater hospital pressure, the appearance of new strains and the delay in vaccination. Once again, all the responsibility is charged to the teachers because the educational administrations have not done their homework.», They have criticized.

All of this, they add, “together with the reduction in academic levels during the first quarter makes it very necessary to update the educational strategy. In this sense, CSIF demands the realization of massive tests among the teaching staff and the reinforcement of the staff, taking into account that communities such as Madrid and Catalonia rescinded the “Covid contracts“At the beginning of the course, which has altered the organization of the classrooms and the support for students”.

The syndicate also calls for information on when the vaccination of teachers and students will take place and assess complementary ventilation measures in the face of the drop in temperatures, which prevents having the windows open.

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