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The end of the mask at school: some fear and flexibility in its use

Educational centers will allow a margin of flexibility in the voluntary use of masks, which decline on Wednesday in these spaces, where some fear is breathed among teachers and, in general, calm prevails in the face of a measure that has already been applied since February in the recesses without problems.

The Council of Ministers approves this Tuesday a royal decree that will abolish the face mask in closed places from tomorrow, except for health centers, services and establishments, including pharmacies, and public transport. In the works, the companies will decide.

Outside of that, the health authorities will establish a series of recommended uses that will not be part of the decree, as the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, advanced a few weeks ago. Students will no longer have to wear it in the school and university environment, although teachers with vulnerability factors are advised to wear it, as well as other people with these same conditions in which they cannot maintain 1.5 meters of distance.

As on previous occasions, the president of Ceapa, Leticia Cardenal, supports decisions based on the criteria of the health authorities and considers that “it would not make much sense for masks to be eliminated indoors for the general population and not for children and girls while they are in their educational centres”. However, “we advocate asking for caution in the application of this new rule and we ask that families be informed of the new measures by their corresponding educational centers,” adds Cardenal, whose organization represents around 12,000 associations of families from students.

The president of Concapa, Pedro Caballero, believes that the measure has been adopted “a little hastily just after the end of the Easter holidays”, with which it is still unknown what could have happened with the incidence rates of the virus. The majority of families are willing to put an end to face masks, “always maintaining sanitary measures” of prevention, while among teachers “there is division”. In short, explains the president of Concapa, which brings together some 3,000 associations of parents of students, “we have not yet assimilated removing the masks at a stroke.”

Especially positive measure for the little ones

The general secretary of the Federation of Independent Teaching Unions (FSIE), Jesús Pueyo, believes that the measure will be especially positive for Primary Education, where “an increase in learning difficulties due to the use of masks when having distorted for a long period of time the verbal communication” that is essential in learning. “Yes, a progressive and controlled withdrawal would have been preferable, starting the process from the first years of Primary. Removing the masks should not lead to a relaxation or disappearance of other measures such as ventilation and hand washing. In any case, if in any center If a significant outbreak will be detected, the mandatory use of masks in that school should be reconsidered, “he adds to EFE.

It is necessary to continue monitoring the incidence of the virus in educational centers and intervene if there is a significant increase in cases in one center or in several in the same locality. In addition, “the voluntary use of masks must also be respected for both students and teachers and administration and services staff.”

ANPE, the union of public education teachers, is in favor of moving towards normality, but is concerned about the high level of interaction that occurs in the centers and a rebound in the virus, a spokeswoman explains to EFE, calling for “clear and equal regulations for all the autonomous communities”. After two years, educational centers are “tired” of the mask, which has led to “some communication problems” with children, but this does not mean that “caution and prudence are maintained”.

The Spanish Confederation of Teaching Centers (CECE), which brings together thousands of private and concerted centers, affirms that they have always been guided by the recommendations of the health authorities, and experience “tells us that schools have been in all this time very safe places “In any case, it seems to us that those who continue to wear a mask voluntarily must be respected,” explains a spokeswoman for this employer’s association.

Finally, the general secretary of the Union of Education Inspectors (USIE), Jesús Marrodán, affirms that the majority feeling is prudence. “If the masks are removed, it would be advisable to leave the possibility for those who want to wear them. We believe that the rest of the measures should not be altered at this point in the course, especially since the pandemic is still alive.”

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