Secondary school students who are close contacts may not have to quarantine
Over 12s encouraged to get vaccinated against Covid-19 ahead of upcoming academic year
As the summer holidays come to an end and the pandemic remains ever-present, parents and students alike may be left wondering what the upcoming academic year, set to begin on September 13 across Catalonia, will look like.
And while the education department is yet to finalize protocols, which will be communicated to schools next week, a few things are already clear: classes will be held entirely in person, children over the age of six will have to wear face masks, and students will be divided into stable groups.
But one thing that could change, especially as more and more secondary school-age children are inoculated against Covid-19, are the quarantine requirements for close contacts.
"I encourage young people to start the school year with their first dose"
Pere Aragonès · Catalan president
Primary school students will still be required to self-isolate, but authorities are looking into potentially eliminating quarantine requirements for students 12 and older depending on how vaccination rates progress amongst this age group.
As of August 24, 50.7% of 12- to 15-year-olds have had one dose of a vaccine, while only 0.7% have had two and 4.9% are considered to be fully vaccinated as they have had either both doses or one after having had Covid-19.
For those ages 16 to 19, these figures are somewhat higher: 67.4% have had one dose, 40% have had two, and 47.5% are fully vaccinated.
At least one dose before the term starts
Health authorities said on Monday that vaccinating all secondary school students with at least one dose before the term starts is logistically possible.
Speaking to the press from a new school that will be opening in the town of Vilablareix, Catalan president Pere Aragonès urged students to get their Covid-19 jabs. "I encourage young people to start the school year with their first dose," he said. "We need to increase the vaccination rate among younger age groups. We have enough vaccines."
His words were then echoed by education minister Josep González Cambray: "We need to start the year with as many doses administered as possible."