This was agreed at the extraordinary meeting of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS) together with the Education Sector Conference and the General Conference on University Policy, as explained in the press conference after this meeting by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias; the Minister of Education and Professional Training, Pilar Alegría; and the Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats.
All of them remarked that, in this time of pandemic, presence in the classroom has been a success at all educational levels. Both the ministries involved and the regional councils have valued that the classrooms have been safe places throughout the pandemic where control measures have been optimally maintained.
“That we have maintained presence in all educational stages is a success for the country,” remarked the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, who explained that today’s meeting fulfilled the mandate of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, after the Conference of Presidents to “guarantee presence in classrooms so that our children and young people can fully develop”.
It should be remembered that the data on infections in the classrooms in the non-university educational system have been maintained throughout the school year with a number of classrooms in quarantine below 0.5%.
With the growth of the Omicron variant, a maximum peak was reached on December 22, the day the school holidays begin, with 1.3% of classrooms in quarantine; which means 5,433 classes out of the slightly more than 417,000 classrooms. Also, only 12 schools were closed due to outbreaks, 0.04% of all schools in the country.
The Minister of Health insisted that “the best measure against COVID-19 is vaccination.” Therefore, she stressed the importance of promoting vaccination in all age groups.
The Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría, stressed the importance of betting on presence. “Despite the epidemiological situation caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the logical concern that it raises, the return to class on the scheduled date and with strict compliance with the prevention protocols already known (both inside and outside the classrooms)
It is the best option for schoolchildren, for families and for the educational community as a whole, “she said and recalled that” it is the best option, because closing schools – we already know after 21 months of pandemic – implies a huge loss in learning and puts the psychological well-being and emotional health of children and adolescents at risk, as confirmed by recent studies by the World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF “.
Photo: Pool Moncloa / Fernando Calvo
Also in the university field, the Ministry of Universities stressed the need to maintain presence in the return to classes at this beginning of the course.
Regarding the call for exams, Minister Joan Subirats sent a message of calm in this regard: “It is a general decision of the university system that no one lose the call due to contagion or confinement.”
The Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, pointed out the importance of influencing the need to intensify the implementation of existing protocols, as well as communication channels with the university community.
In addition, “as the experts have indicated, the infections that occur in the age group corresponding to the university community are not occurring in the university environment itself if it were not within it, thus reaffirming the certainty that the classrooms are, in general terms, safe spaces, “he said.