MADRID | Children will have to wear the mask at all times at school from the age of 6 in Spain, the country’s government announced Thursday, which intends to reopen schools despite a new wave of the COVID-19 epidemic.
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“The use of the mask will be compulsory in general from 6 years old, regardless of the maintenance of the distance”, declared the Minister of Education Isabel Celaa at the end of a meeting intended to establish a homogeneous national framework. at the start of the school year.
The government’s goal is for children to come to class and no longer take distance education as they had to at the end of the last school year. “We aim for the presence of all the students,” she added.
Critics have multiplied in recent days in Spain on the lack of coordination between the 17 regions which in turn announced their measures. Cantabria (north) in particular sparked controversy by announcing the wearing of a mask from 3 years old.
In general, children should maintain a safety distance of 1.5 m, but the little ones will only hang out with other students in their class, which will allow them to play among themselves without respecting this distance and will make it easier to trace. in case of contagion.
Schoolchildren should also wash their hands at least 5 times a day. Their temperature will be taken in the morning while the classrooms will have to be ventilated frequently.
Schools had been closed in mid-March in Spain, the country which imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, and generally did not reopen before the end of the school year.
The “vuelta al cole” (back to school) has been at the center of debates for weeks because of the fears of teachers and parents of students, some of whom refuse to return their children to school, while the second wave of the he epidemic is progressing at a gallop.
Over the past 14 days, Spain has registered 190 new cases per 10,000 inhabitants, by far the highest rate in the European Union.
The total number of cases has exceeded 400,000 this week in this country of 47 million inhabitants while the number of hospitalizations and deaths has risen sharply. The epidemic officially killed nearly 29,000 people there.
In this context, local authorities continue to impose restrictions.
Madrid city hall announced on Thursday the closure from September 1 of night parks and swimming pools. The Balearic archipelago decided on Wednesday to ban access to beaches at night and to impose the wearing of masks in companies.