Thousands of pupils will start returning to class today as schools finally re-open after being closed since the lockdown in March. But they are completely different schools to the ones that pupils left in March; classrooms have been rearranged to respect social distancing, children from six upwards will have to wear a mask at all times and even school opening and closing times have been changed to ensure that there is no mass arrival or exit. What is clear is that the new measures place additional pressure on teachers and their unions nationwide are already talking strike action.

Schools will start returning at a time when the number of coronavirus cases have passed the 500,000 mark in Spain, the highest in Europe. Parents are obviously deeply concerned and to a lesser extent pupils. In the playground some form of social distancing will need to be maintained and this will put additional pressure on teachers. Officials at the Ministry for Education have worked throughout the summer to ensure that schools are ready because the government made the return to classes one of their top priorities.

Going back to school for most children after the long summer break is always an apprehensive time but this year it will be even more difficult because classes finished just before Easter. Fingers crossed that everything goes to plan because it will be a major test for all. Like everything else it will be the new normal which is very different.