SPAIN’S Ministry of Education plans to limit the number of students per classroom to 15 in September if there is no vaccination.
The proposal will combine on-site schooling with online classes.
At the moment it is not a firm decision, nor is it clear whether it would affect all levels of education.
“We cannot put at risk everything that has been achieved”, said the Minister of Education, Isabel Celaa, in an interview with 20 Minutos, “if all the children attend at the same time we cannot safeguard the obligatory distance.”
To date, some communities permit up to 28 students per classroom in primary school and 40 in secondary school.
Due to lack of budgets, it is unfeasible to double the number of staff and expand communal school spaces, leading to the likely scenario of a combined education system in September.
The likely proposal will be for students to attend classes in shifts, alternating between morning and afternoon classes, or attending on alternative days or weeks, combined with homeschooling.
This new school ‘normality’ will require considerable measures of conciliation for working parents.
A spokeswomen for the Ministry of Education has said that unlike the unexpected school closure in March, ‘there is now time to prepare the online classes and provide all pupils who lack equipment and connection at home with the necessary means.’
The drastic reduction of student ratio will aid in a more personalised teaching when the students are in the classroom.
However, specialists in educational policies from the Jaume Bofill Foundation warn that some students are losing their routines and their willingness to learn. Deficiencies which can lead to absenteeism, repetition and dropping out of school.
Maribel Loranca, head of Teaching at UGT (General Workers’ Union) adds that this health protocol must take into account students and teachers who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 as a result of previous illnesses and age.