Back to school: healthy classrooms

This week starts back to school in our country. This will be carried out progressively and will vary, in its methodology, depending on each autonomous community, since they have competence in education. How is this logical raises various concerns to the students but above all to the parents. Is it safe to return to classes in person? Will there be rebounds in schools and will this force them to close? Is classroom teaching safe for children and those who have contact with them? What about the health of teachers and other school personnel? These and many other dilemmas will arise after the start of classes.

The same questions arise in the European countries close to ours. The measures taken for the return to the classroom are very varied. They range from doing practically nothing, as in Sweden, where face-to-face activity has not stopped at any time, to more stringent measures such as those of Spain and Italy. Where it seems that the subject is not taken as a joke is in China and they do not lower their guard, strict temperature controls, quick tests in classrooms, etc.. Despite the fact that they currently have no cases and the pandemic is practically controlled.

Using the mask

There is a series of recommendations made a few months ago by the WHO, these are of a very general nature. In different countries, such as ours, the respective Ministry of Education has produced a report on the return to the classroom. In countries like Spain or Germany, where education is decentralized, these Reports are indicative and the decision of the final measures to be taken depends on each autonomous community or Länder, respectively. In France, where things are much more centralized, government measures are almost mandatory throughout the national territory.

80% of Spaniards have no confidence in the measures taken by the authorities

One issue where there seems to be no consensus is the use of masks. In our country they will be mandatory at all times from the age of 6. In France they will be compulsory from the age of 11. In Germany they will only be used in common spaces, since they will not be compulsory in classrooms.

Where there seems to be agreement is that experience with distance learning, during the last confinement, has been shown to produce inequalities, especially for economic reasons. In France, they have found that between 4% and 6% of students have dropped out since March and have not heard from them again. To avoid economic differences in access and have a device with the ability to connect to the Internet, in Germany have adopted a cheap connection at a cost of € 10 for students. There are also aids to make a computer available to you when needed.

It seems that in most of the autonomous communities of our country there will be a increase in the hiring of teaching staff or related to teaching, some 25,000 people in total. In this regard, the one who gets the honors is Italy, where they are going to make 100,000 permanent and 50,000 temporary hires to reinforce education. In France they are going to give an extra pay to the directors of schools and institutes and there is a commitment to raise the salary of teachers in successive years. Something similar happens in Italy, In Spain, it seems that, as with health personnel, policy makers have forgotten about wage increases for teaching. Will we ever know why we are so different from our neighbors and where our tax dollars go?

Outbreaks in classrooms

In Germany, who started classes in mid-August, they have already had to close two schools due to outbreaks. Although there are protocols to isolate children when they have fever or any other symptoms in educational centers, we must assume that our country will end up closing some center educational due to regrowth. Hopefully they are the minimum possible and above all that it is not something generalized that forces a new educational confinement, something that would logically produce panic in homes. About 80% of people, according to various surveys carried out by the media, do not have confidence in the measures taken by the authorities to return to face-to-face classes in our country . In Germany, according to various surveys, this negative assessment is held by 49% of people and in France this percentage drops to 19%. Therefore, in this aspect, something is wrong in Spain and it seems that families need more psychological support and information from the authorities when facing this return to classes.

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