All Catalan schools and universities to close from Friday

1.8 million students and 100,000 teachers affected by decision taken to avoid spread of coronavirus

Two children holding hands on their way to school on September 12, 2019 (by Elisenda Rosanas)
Two children holding hands on their way to school on September 12, 2019 (by Elisenda Rosanas) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 12, 2020 01:47 PM

All Catalan education centers will close from tomorrow, Friday, March 13, as agreed by the government this Thursday afternoon.

The measure is being taken in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus, and comes a day after other exceptional decisions, including the ban on all gathering of more than 1,000 people.

1.8 million students and 100,000 teachers in the country are affected by the measure, including primary, secondary and higher education.

All in all, 5,479 educational centers, including universities, will close their doors.

This doesn't mean, however, that all students are to remain confined at home, but is aimed at "reducing our normal rhythm and the movement of a lot of people." as health minister Alba Vergés explained.

At least until March 27

The measure will be in force until March 27, and it could be extended depending on how the crisis unfolds – in any case, as the education minister Josep Bargalló said, they do not expect to lift the closure before that date, set this Thursday.

So far, all educational activities beyond March 27 remain as planned, including university entrance exams ('selectivitat,' in Catalan), due to take place in June.

Talking to Catalan public TV, Bargalló said they are not envisaging a scenario of having schools closed for months; he ruled out extending the school year beyond the current set date of June 19. Yet, he said they will evaluate the new developments "every day.”

Bargalló admitted that the unprecedented decision will cause a "disruption" within families, but insisted this is an extraordinary measure taken for the sake of "health."

He added that this is not a vacation period, and that his department will facilitate teachers in taking "continuous learning courses."