SCHOOLCHILDREN in Valencia will finally have the Fallas off this year.
The regional government had advised local education authorities to swap the festive bank holidays for normal school days this year due to the cancellation of the fiestas, in order to avoid unauthorised public gatherings that could reverse the positive evolution of COVID infection figures.
However, the final decision was up to municipal school councils, and the education board of Valencia city yesterday (Thursday) voted unanimously to keep March 16, 17 and 18 free for students and teachers.
Their argument is based on the need for a rest after a very complicated term and course due to the coronavirus.
The decision taken by the education authorities in the Valencian capital is expected to be replicated by most local school boards throughout the region.
President Ximo Puig had insisted that the recommendation to cancel the school holidays was based on guidelines issued by the Public Health department.
Meanwhile, Valencia city council had adapted the Generalitat’s advice and suggested that schools and colleges keep the March 18 bank holiday free but move the March 16 and 17 holidays to May.
Valencia school board yesterday held a vote between the city hall’s suggestion and the proposal to maintain the festive calendar as it stands.
Finally, the second option won by 22 votes to seven.
The ultimate decision was partly influenced by the fact that other education facilities, such as universities and schools in other parts of the autonomous community, had already confirmed their intention to keep the holidays.
Following the announcement, local and regional authorities called on schools to maintain all the recommended health guidelines in place, and insisted that students refrain from all social gatherings except within their respective households.
Puig highlighted the importance of not repeating the problems caused by Christmas throughout Spain, when careless behaviour led to a surge in COVID infections and triggered the ‘third wave’.
Although figures have been steadily improving over the last few weeks, the pressure on the public healthcare system is still very high, and a ‘fourth wave’ of infections would be devastating.