Spanish Universities to Return to 100% In-Person Instruction Next Week

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Universities and schools in Spain will return to in-person classes starting Monday, January 10, after Spain’s central government and the country’s regional education leaders reached a deal to resume in-person instruction.

The meeting over continuation of in-person lessons was held last week, Tuesday, January 4, with officials from 17 regions in Spain voting in favor to return to in-person classes, reports.

After the meeting, the Minister of Health Carolina Darias said that it has not been easy to reach an agreement but added that they have managed to do it.

During a press conference, the minister said that masks will still be required at universities and schools while all institutions should make sure there will be adequate ventilation.

“The educational model of face-to-face teaching has been a success and is the Spanish government’s model, because classrooms are safe spaces,” Darias was quoted as saying by the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais.

As many students are already vaccinated against COVID-19, from next week, students at universities and secondary education schools across the country will not continue remote lessons even if there are positive cases among students.

El Pais reports that in Madrid, there haven’t been any restrictions during the holiday season; however, the city has most recently mentioned online education due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. This has pushed parents and teachers’ unions to call for resuming in-person instruction, some of whom have even warned protests if schools do not open.

El Pais further reports that during the conference, the new universities minister, Joan Subirats, said that it is necessary to avoid the “sensation of constant change” regarding the health situation and to create the feeling of safety and protection.

“I’m aware of this because this last semester I have seen it myself. Universities are ready to deal with this issue,” Subirats has said.

According to data, on Tuesday, the infection rate in Spain reached 2,433 cases per 100,000 people, ten times higher compared to the beginning of December.

Unlike universities in Spain, some of the world’s renowned universities are going remote again, including Yale University, Duke University, the University of Miami for the first two weeks of the semester due to the spread of the Omicron variant, but not Harvard University. The latter has most recently announced that it is planning an in-person semester despite the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among its members and across the United States.

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