Authorities delay first day of school after holidays to January 11
Move intended to increase time between widespread family gatherings and return to classes
The first day of school after the winter holidays for Catalan schoolchildren will be Monday, January 11 rather than Friday, January 8 as initially intended.
The decision, which the Catalan News Agency was able to confirm on Wednesday, was taken to increase the number of days between widespread family gatherings and the return to classes in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19, as advised by the health department.
Every year many families with young children get together to celebrate Three Kings' Day, or Epiphany, on January 6 – still not a full week before classes are set to begin once again.
Tightened restrictions as virus surges
The pandemic is threatening to derail holiday plans as the number of diagnoses continues to rise, forcing authorities to rethink easing measures over the coming weeks.
After a number of experts voiced concern over allowing more people to gather and travel on Christmas as well as other key dates, Catalan health minister Alba Vergés stated that her administration would "not hesitate to act."
Spain's health ministry told regional authorities on Wednesday that holiday restrictions would have to be stepped up, but an agreement is yet to be reached.