Many pupils are keen to take their masks off at school. / sur

Schools wait for instructions from the Junta before lifting the coronavirus face mask rule

Experts at the regional Ministry of Health are studying the new decree and will then advise the Education authorities on the best way forward in Andalucía

ALMUDENA NOGÚES Malaga

Many parents are asking the same question now that the mask rule has been lifted with effect from today, 20 April. Why are the children still having to wear a mask in school? Many pupils are impatient to take theirs off, but for the moment, everyone will have to wait. The Junta de Andalucía’s Ministry of Health is analysing the new rules, which were only published yesterday, and will then advise the education authority, which will let the schools know how to proceed.

Although the document (Royal Decree 286/2022 of 19 April) explains that the decision to lift the mask rule has been taken because of the way the pandemic has evolved and the high vaccination rate, and that this also applies to schools, it is apparent that teachers, parents and pupils in this region are going to have to wait.

Gradually

“The instructions from the Education Department are that we have to carry on wearing masks until the Junta de Andalucía specifies how we have to handle this, so for the time being, masks are still compulsory in the classroom,” said one head teacher.

The new regional Minister for Education and Sport, Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, said on Monday that it would take several days for the new rules to come into force in Andalucía, and that the mask rule would probably be lifted gradually, starting with the youngest pupils.

Back to normal

Meanwhile, the Asadipre association of head teachers in Andalucía says that from an educational point of view the lifting of the mask rule in classrooms will be excellent news. “It means we will get back to normal in terms of teaching and learning, especially in the linguistic field, which has been handicapped by the use of masks, especially for pupils in Infant and the early years of Junior schools,” said a source there.