The communities have met this Wednesday with the Ministries of Education and Health to discuss how prevention measures will be against Covid next year.
The Ministers of Education and Vocational Training, Isabel Celaá, and Health, Carolina Darias, have presided together with the Minister of Territorial Policy and Public Function, Miquel Iceta, an extraordinary meeting of the Education Sector Conference and the Interterritorial Health Council, held jointly to address prevention, hygiene and health promotion measures against Covid-19 for the next academic year 2021-2022, among other issues .
As ABC has learned, it has been agreed that the content of the document placed on the table, and to which ABC has had access, is indicative but not binding.
The changes in the final document put on the table, compared to the previous versions (the last one was from 17) are not very big, except for the fact that when considering the possibility of reducing the distances from 1.5 to 1.2 meters In ESO and Baccalaureate, now it is added that it will have to be done in “low transmission scenarios” (which is not proposed for 4th and 5th grade of Primary, although it is also valued to reduce distances).
Another novelty of this latest version is that the indication of change of scenery (alert levels 1, 2, 3 and 4) will be established by the health authority of the Community for each province, adding “or for the territorial level that it decides. It is recommended that in deciding this territorial level, both epidemiological aspects and those related to educational organization be taken into account.
These are the rest of the measures for the next course:
Increase in ratios
On the table was put a document prepared by both ministries that underwent some changes. Finally, it was agreed to raise the ratios and increase interpersonal distances.
At what levels? For the second cycle of Infant (3 to 6 years), the first version of the document was passed from the stable coexistence groups, better known as ‘bubble groups’, and formed by a maximum of 20 students together with the tutor, to groups with a number that must now be “according to the ratios established in the applicable regulations” for 2010. This establishes that in this cycle there must be a maximum of 25 students per unit.
In the case of Primary, the first version proposed stable coexistence groups of a maximum of 25 students together with the tutor, while the latest version of the document again refers to the current regulations (although, in any case, in said regulations the same amount is also set).
Distance: 1.5 to 1.2 meters
In addition, in Primary, ‘bubble groups’ can now be organized from 1st to 4th grade, while for 5th and 6th grade it is either this option or the same measure as for ESO, Baccalaureate or FP: distance of 1.5 meters, with the possibility to make it more flexible to 1.2 meters (which implies, in practice, an increase in ratios). It should be remembered that in the measurements for the course of last year the Primary ratios were also lower: for 1st and 2nd, the bubble groups were 15 students (if necessary, with up to a maximum of 20) together with the tutor.
The latest version of the document also maintains the different scenarios depending on the alert level of each region. Thus, presence will be guaranteed at all levels when the alert be 1 and 2 and it will be possible to pass, in an exceptional way, to blendedness in alert levels 3 and 4, but only from 3rd year of ESO. This is in case neither the distance of 1.5 meters nor resorting to outdoor classes is enough.
Cross and permanent ventilation
Another novelty is that of ventilation, given the new evidence of the transmission of the aerosol virus and that is already included in other protocols such as the EBAU. Thus, the document establishes that natural ventilation is the preferred option. “Cross ventilation is recommended, if possible permanently, with opening doors and / or windows opposite or at least on different sides of the room, to promote air circulation and ensure efficient sweeping throughout the space.” They also recommend ventilate the centre’s facilities frequently, if possible permanently, «Including for at least 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 ”.
In situations of high community transmission of SARS-CoV2, “the prioritization of natural ventilation should be valued for its effectiveness in preventing transmission over aspects such as the temperature and humidity conditions necessary for thermal comfort or the requirements of energy efficiency”.
Mandatory mask from 6 years
The use of the mask will be mandatory from 6 years of age regardless of the maintenance of interpersonal distance or belonging to a stable coexistence group, without prejudice to the exemptions provided in the legal system.
The CSFI union has criticized both the Ministry of Education and those responsible for the communities for “turn their backs on teachers by agreeing to increase the number of students per class the next course, taking advantage of the exit from the pandemic, “they said in a statement.
They warn «that we cannot go back to the levels prior to the health emergency and once again increase the ratios per classroom by reducing, In addition, the number of backup teachers – some 40,000 professionals – who have helped so much during the pandemic».
Also reject the reduction of the safety distance in classrooms from 1.5 to 1.2 meters and they demand that it keep the same distance from the previous year “because it gives more security against the pandemic, it allows reducing the ratios of students per class and an increase in the number of teachers.”
They also demand that they remember Finalist investments from European funds that allow expanding the workforce in the 2021-2022 academic year, reducing school hours and improving the quality of the educational model. “This reduction in ratios would lead to a substantial increase in staff for the next academic year 2021-2022. In the last ten years, coinciding with the previous economic crisis and cuts in the communities, the workforce was reduced with 16,922 teachers, starting to recover part of these teachers only in the last year.
They also demand that the vaccination process of the teaching community be accelerated. They ask for a solution for the 20% of teachers in Spain who have not yet been vaccinated even with the first dose and for the 80% who are still waiting to receive the second dose.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism