VICENT Marzà, Valencia Education Minister, has assured families and teachers that school will start on Monday (10 January) as planned with face-to-face classes, but it is unclear exactly how many teachers will be available.
Due to the large numbers of people isolating after testing positive for coronavirus, or having been in close contact with a positive case, the education department has no exact figure of how many teachers will be affected and STEPV, the Valencia teachers’ union, is calling for a plan to be put in place, ahead of the return to school, as well as finding out how many teachers and students would be returning to class on Monday.
Marzà, however, has assured the education community that schools will open and there will be face-to-face classes, after it was agreed during a meeting with other regional governments that schools would open as planned, There had been speculation that this would not happen due to the rise in covid-19 cases over the festive period,
On Tuesday Marzà, along with the health minister, Ana Barceló, and universities representative, Carolina Pascual, had an online meeting with their counterparts in other regions, at which they asked for schools to open on Monday with 100% face-to-face classes. They also asked for clear instructions, before Monday, and an “update” on protocols for managing covid-19 cases in classrooms, adapted to the current pandemic situation.
Marzà said that face-to-face classes were necessary, “not only from a teaching perspective but also for public health given that education centres are safe spaces for students thanks to the protocols of prevention and the vaccination campaigns.” He also insisted that the key is to reinforce vaccinations, both among teachers and students.
Speaking on La Ventana Comunitat, he said that the vaccination of teachers was a priority and that the government plan was for teachers to receive their booster jabs before 10 January, and that “the majority have gone to their local health centres and have been vaccinated.”
He explained that there are thousands of extra teachers to cover shortages of staff. He also said that during the week before Christmas, the last week of term, there had been half the number of absences as there had been in the same week in 2020 and the situation was covered with substitutions,
Barceló said that the vaccination programme for children would resume next week with those aged between 5 and 8 being vaccinated, just as those aged 9 to 11 had been vaccinated before Christmas.