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Schools begin reopening in Phase 2 lockdown de-escalation areas

Teachers say face-to-face teaching is ‘necessary’ but schools see limited return of students

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01 June 2020 01:48 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

After being shut for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools are slowly but surely beginning to reopen.

In-person educational activity is allowed to resume in health regions that reach Phase 2 of the lockdown de-escalation process, and this Monday various regions of Catalonia began this stage and saw some schools welcome students again. 

On June 1, Central Catalonia and Girona joined Camp de Tarragona, Alt Pirineu, and Terres de l'Ebre in Phase 2, as have the Garraf and Alt Penedès counties, which are in the southern Barcelona metropolitan health region. 

Fewer logistical problems in rural areas

In Central Catalonia, some students have returned to classrooms from Monday. In the case of rural schools with fewer students, the de-escalation process is going on with fewer headaches and logistical issues.

This is the case of Els Ventets de Collsuspina school, which welcomed back two students on Monday. “It’s easier to adapt to the protocol,” says school director Toni Comajoan. 

When more students are ready to arrive, Comejoan adds, "we have enough space to maintain the ratios dictated by the protocols." 

Ainet and Pep, both four years old, returned to class. They did so wearing a mask, washing their hands, disinfecting their shoes, and having their temperature taken.

“Necessary” for face-to-face contact

In Vilanova i la Geltrú, part of the Garraf county, the first students will arrive on Wednesday, as the centers have agreed to spend two days preparing the spaces. 

At the Llebetx School, they consider it "necessary" for students and teachers to meet again before the end of the course, but they see the protocol that has been designed to welcome students back and keep social distancing as unfeasible

At the same time, for the next academic year, they fear that the rules to avoid Covid-19 will cause a "setback" in the progress for the academic year. 

"We have made many advances in educational and teaching transformation that, with security measures, are falling apart," the director of Llebetx, Olga Belmonte, told the Catalan News Agency.

Limited return

In the Camp de Tarragona health region, the Institut Escola l'Agulla del Catllar school welcomed back 10% of their students who were waiting on the first day of reopening. 

Only three of the thirty students who were waiting attended on Monday, out of a total of more than 450 who are usually there. 

Although there was no physical contact, students and teachers were happy to meet again. 

To avoid overcrowding they have set different entry times for each course and different levels will be in attendance each day. 

At the same time, six children have come back to the municipal nursery, mainly children of healthcare workers. Measures to ensure social distancing and cleanliness are present both at the entrance and in different locations in the educational centers.

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  • A young student disinfects their hands on the first day of returning to school in Central Catalonia following the coronavirus pandemic (by Gemma Aleman)

  • A young student disinfects their hands on the first day of returning to school in Central Catalonia following the coronavirus pandemic (by Gemma Aleman)

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