The Best Schools in Spain have been closed during these months of lockdown as a result of the country’s contingency plan against the COVID-19 health crisis. Over this time, the Best Schools in Spain have been giving distance or online classes, and the experience has been very positive.
Teaching activity has continued and students’ learning has not been interrupted as the BSS have been investing in a long process of innovation and digitalization for many years. The continuous training of teachers has been one of the pillars of the digital transformation and the evolution towards a forward-looking education, and honing our students’ digital skills and using them on a daily basis in the classroom have been just as important.
Schools in Spain have already started to open their doors, and attendance is voluntary and strictly controlled. The Best Schools in Spain have been preparing for this moment for weeks in order to ensure that the necessary health and hygiene measures are in place to keep staff and students safe.
The need to get back in the classroom
Some international organisms, such as UNICEF, WHO, or UNESCO, have expressed the negative effect of closing schools and of the lockdown on children worldwide. Education is essential, not just on an academic level, but also for children’s emotional health and wellbeing.
Distance learning at the Best Schools in Spain has allowed us to immediately respond to the need to maintain students’ learning and offer them an alternative way to stay in contact with their classmates and teachers, an essential social support at such a delicate time for society as a whole.
Now that the health crisis is under control in Spain, it is time to get back to the classroom. There is no substitute for the benefits of in-person learning for children. That is why the Best Schools in Spain have worked on organisational plans that allow staff and students to keep a safe distance, as well as on the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
In-person activity is getting back on track thanks to the schools’ efforts to adapt to the new normal. We are already busy planning the 2020 – 2021 school year in our centres, where prevention and hygiene measures play a key role in maintaining a healthy and safe school environment.
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What measure have been taken at the Best Schools in Spain?
Each school is studying its facilities in order to optimise all the spaces that can be used to reduce class sizes for the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year in September. Some centres are even carrying out remodelling work. Likewise, entrance halls, meeting rooms, gymnasiums and lecture theatres are being adapted to reduce class sizes, as well as outdoor areas, weather permitting.
These are some of the measures that have been implemented in the schools:
Control of social contact and personal protection
- Installation of protective screens in areas that deal with the public and footwear disinfection equipment at the school entrance.
- Personal protective equipment for all staff.
- Design of a new system for moving around the facilities through entrances, exits and hallways, reducing movement around the school as far as possible.
- Smaller classes.
- Adaptation of spaces to ensure everyone can maintain a distance of 1.5 metres.
- Preference for outdoor spaces in educational and leisure activities.
- For pre-primary to the 4th year of primary education, the schools will establish controlled groups of students that, together with their teacher, form part of stable social groups so that they may play together and interact. Thanks to this measure, these groups of students will not interact with children from other schools in order to limit the amount of contact and guarantee better control in the event that a student develops symptoms.
Cleaning, disinfection, hygiene and ventilation
- More intense and frequent daily cleaning of all surfaces throughout the facilities, paying special attention to bathrooms and common areas.
- Frequent and meticulous hand hygiene practises for all staff and students.
- Hygiene products and alcohol-based sanitizers distributed in bathrooms, all classrooms and common areas.
- Constant ventilation of the facilities at the beginning of the school day, between classes and at the end of the day to ensure air circulates and is renewed throughout the entire school.
The BSS show how they have been preparing their facilities to ensure a safe return to the classroom.
- Any professionals or students that develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 should not go to the school, as well as anybody that is in quarantine as they have coronavirus or are in contact with a diagnosed
- Appointment of a person responsible for COVID-19 measures who enforces health protocols from the authorities, and ensures that all operations to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of students are performed correctly, as well as specific actions in the event that somebody develops coronavirus symptoms in order to isolate any potential cases.
- Coordination between the schools and the public health services to ensure that possible cases are dealt with correctly and the protocols required by the health authorities are fulfilled.
- Temperature taken at the school entrance.
Communication and training on COVID-19
- The school provides information, training and guidelines for teachers, families and students to help them fulfil all the protocols and health measures simply and correctly when they return to the classroom.
- Schools and families are in constant contact, and they can ask any questions they have about the school’s new normal.
- Installation of infographics and posters to improve understanding of all the measures and what they involve.
The Best Schools in Spain are ready to reopen their classrooms, with health and organisational plans for the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year in September. This is a new educational challenge that they are taking on with responsibility and rigour, and they are working hard to guarantee their student’s right to a high-quality education.