File photograph. / AINHOA ​​GORRIZ

Spain to drop all remaining coronavirus restrictions in schools and colleges from start of new term

The Ministry of Health has approved allowing all schoolchildren to interact normally in classrooms and eliminates social distancing in dining rooms

ÁLVARO SOTO Madrid

After two years of coronavirus restrictions, schools and colleges in Spain will leave the pandemic behind at the start of the new term, after the Government approved this Friday, 2 September, to end the restrictions that still remained in force in classrooms and dining rooms.

The Public Health Commission, in which representatives of the Ministry of Health and the regions participate, has updated the document 'Prevention, hygiene and health promotion measures against Covid-19 for educational centres', which in its new wording means the arrival of the new normality in the classroom.

Therefore, in the return to school next week, all age groups (including preschool, primary, high schools and colleges) will now be able to interact in any situation and physical space. Nor will it be necessary to maintain a social distance in the dining rooms, where the health measure was still maintained.

The obligation to intensify cleaning in schools also ends, and now, sanitisation "will be carried out in the usual manner for the educational sector," according to the new protocol.

The text does maintain the recommendation of natural and cross ventilation in classes, but establishes that as long as the epidemiological situation allows it, "the need for it to be permanent is eliminated, and it is recommended to ventilate several times a day, between classes, adapting the time to the characteristics of the classroom. In addition, the recommendation that schoolchildren be vaccinated continues.

The anti-Covid measures in schools have been progressively relaxed during the past year, and on 20 April, the obligation to wear the mask inside the classrooms ended.

In Andalucía, the Minister of Health, Catalina García, said a few days ago that the Junta was reviewing the existing protocol in schools to adapt it to the new conditions and indicated that a substantial change was going to happen.