What will happen with back to school 2020 in Spain?
What are your thoughts? How are you feeling? What do you know? What do you wish you knew?
By now, most parents are longing for the “vuelta al cole”, after the seemingly endless (although, these days we wish they were longer) summer holidays we enjoy in Spain. However, this year we are clouded in incertitude. The future is currently clouded by the continuing presence and threat of Coronavirus.
As I write this post, Friday, August 21st 2020, I am anxiously awaiting an email from our children’s school. On Monday this week, we received an email advising, amongst other things, that today we would be explained how “back to school 2020” would be organised.
I must tell you that I am not too concerned about our children going back to school, I am confident that their school will take all the necessary precautions and that our children are old enough and wise enough to take the necessary precautions. However, I am unhappy that our children are returning to school earlier than usual and that there is a possibility they will be expected to attend a school trip at the start of the term. Can you imagine? Around 200 students in a camp together, having been so careful for so long. It is my nightmare!
I am also concerned about the long term health effects, catching the virus may cause our children to suffer.
However, as new measures are currently being imposed across Spain due to a new spike in cases, I am hoping that the school’s plan will be changed. I am hoping that by the time I post my ramblings here that I will be able to tell you the outcome!
And about the spike in cases in Spain … can anybody tell me why Spain is portrayed so badly in newspapers, online portals and TV programmes all around the world? What have they done so wrong? Or is it really a scaremongering tactic? And if so, to what avail?
Yes, there are more cases being detected. Yes, there are lots more tests being carried out. Yes, the track and trace system is tight. Yes, strict measures are put in place in an attempt to slow the spread. And yes there are much fewer hospitalizations and deaths. But how long will this last …
I asked on social media for parent’s thoughts about back to school 2020 in Spain. Here are some comments:
I’ve seen letters being published by some of the local AMPAs with their demands but can’t help hoping that plans are being worked upon and we have to have a little faith in those to whom we entrust our children who also have a vested interest in keeping the children and themselves safe. Either that or my head is well and truly buried in the sand!
Hey Lisa, I’m going back to teaching this year after a 5 year break and in answer to your question – we don’t know what is going on. There are plans for all 3 scenarios – all virtual, semi-presencial and all in person. Our daughter would be starting nursery at the same school as a 2 year old and we are planning to keep her home at least the first few weeks if need be to see if it’s actually safe and how things go. I don’t feel like things are under control – too many questions and variables – if I have a fever (for some other cold or run of the mill illness, does my whole class and their families quarantine? Will the 20 child bubble group I’m meant to teach actually be a bubble – how can that be controlled on weekends with extended families and the inevitable Sunday lunches? Too many questions and lots of anxiety.
Hi here there is no news yet, the mommies I know don’t know either. My kids are in infantil, primaria and ESO. We live in Castilla y Leon. For me, I really hope the kids go back to school as it has been a real struggle to keep up with their homeworks and projects from home, even though they were in contact with their teachers and class online on a daily basis ( the child in primaria ) but most importantly for their social skills and their interactions with school kids and teachers. Of coarse safety is a top priority, and if it is decided that going to school is high risk, then that is that.
Nothing yet here in Mijas Costa. My son is due to go back to school on the 10th September. It’s pretty shocking that we have had no updates from the school but they got their school fees Definitely would hate to hear home schooling again
Hi! My son’s 4 and due to my start Reception soon after preschool. He needs it and he’s so excited. They’re going to be in preschool for the first two weeks to get them used to being back in school and then onto “big school”! I’m excited for him to go to, he’s an only child and it’s just me, him and my Mom so he’s going to learn so much more being around his friends again.
In Sotogrande on September 8th. We just received today (18 August) a thorough and complete re-opening document with Covid-19 health and safety measures. All parents must read and sign this before children return. How do I feel about it? Cautiously happy. Social interaction is crucial for our students well being. However, the policing of their distance to one another, (no hugging, no touching, no high-fives) is very sad to imagine, but not impossible. I taught in Japan for two years and they all bow to one another and there really isn’t any touching, so we will adapt to other ways of showing our affection. We must make that a key component of returning to school.
Here is an extract from the initial email from our children’s school about back to school 2020 plans:
in spite of everything that is happening, we continue to work with hope instead of fear of the unknown because we know that far beyond the security of certainties, human beings need the security of a community, of belonging to a group linked by bonds of commitment and affection (especially during moments of uncertainty and adversity). This is how we have evolved as a species over time and this is how, this year too, we will give the best of ourselves and create learning conditions in which our children feel that, whatever happens, they will never walk alone.
As a parent, I do value the social interaction going to school provides our children. Mixing with and learning in the presence of children of their age is an integral part of growing up. It is part of what helps them develop. However, we also need to weigh up risks and rewards. It is easier for me to say this as our children are now 13 and almost 16 years old. I do feel that parents of younger children are dealing with a much bigger challenge. How do you cope? What do you feel?
During the initial lockdown in Spain, our children received a minimum of 3 to 4 hours, online classes in the morning each day of the week. Classes were taught by their usual teachers, all students were present and joint tasks and projects were set for later in the day. Despite the expected initial hiccups and technical challenges (by some students and a couple of teachers!) classes ran smoothly and the sense of routine made the whole experience a lot more bearable for us all.
Based on this, I am preparing us for the possibility of returning to online classes. Even if this does not happen initially, I expect it may happen at some point. Some parts of Spain are already preparing for a mix of presential and online classes.
This is our school’s comment on online vs presential classes:
With regards to “Technophobia and Technophilia” which divides, sometimes excessively the state of opinion between those who advocate the advantages of classroom-based and online education, the truth is that during the last months of the previous academic year it became clear that there is good and bad online education, as there is also good and bad classroom-based education. We have been and are, without the slightest doubt, in the first group of both and we firmly believe that the two complement each other and offer advantages.
However, in the current situation it is not a question of arguing in favour or against, but rather being aware that in the circumstance of uncertainty both are necessary as part of a routine or habit that allows a transition to one extreme or the other in the event that the health authorities consider it necessary.
No matter what, a decision needs to be made and soon. Tension is rising in many parts of Spain. Both teachers and parents need to be reassured that the education, health and safety of the children are the priority. Articles like this one published in El Pais in English is not what we all need right now.
Like many times during this pandemic, fingers are pointed, people search for blame. We are all fighting this together. Surely, cohesion and teamwork is better than fragmentation and fighting … or am I still living in my bubble?
UPDATE: At 10 pm we finally received the 29-page document from the school. I am disappointed to say that they are still insisting on taking around 200 children to an activity camp from August 29th. How crazy is that? Or am I crazy for not agreeing with it?
To be continued …
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