New rules for students and teachers when term starts in September. | Julián Aguirre

Pre-schoolers and first graders will not have to adhere to the social distancing rule of 1.5 metres during the next school year and they won’t have to wear masks either, according to a Government document.

It was prepared by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education & Vocational Training and outlines coronavirus health recommendations for schools from September onwards.

The document, which will be presented to the Autonomous Communities on Thursday at the Education Sector Conference, also includes recommendations that will be transferred to schools so that they can prepare for the new term.

The Government is relaxing the measures for younger schoolchildren. It won't be necessary for them to maintain a distance at any stage of Early Childhood Education, from 0 to 6 years old, nor in the first four years of Primary up to 10 years old and they won’t have to wear a face mask in class.

Up to 20 students will be allowed in each class, but "ideally" there should be no more than 15 students per classroom, states the document.

"In Infant classes and the first years of Primary it will be possible to socialise without maintaining distance in a strict way, because it is a group of stable coexistence, which also makes it possible to track contacts quickly and easily in the event of a case," said the Ministry of Education in a statement.

Distance between Desks

On Wednesday, the Minister of Education & Vocational Training, Isabel Celaá, said that the Government intended to make health measures more flexible for students returning to class in September, particularly the ones in Early Childhood Education.

"When the schools were closed there wasn’t enough information about whether children could transmit the virus, so we concluded that there was no such impact to consider," said Minister Celaá.

School desks will have to be separated by 1.5 metres in all classes from 5º of Primary, according to the Health & Education document and if separation is not possible, masks will be mandatory, even when students get up from their desks.

The Government will suggest to the Autonomous Communities that Centres organise outdoor educational activities instead of lessons in closed spaces.

Classrooms must be ventilated frequently and for at least five minutes at the beginning of the day, between classes and at the end of the day.

"When weather conditions are good, it is advisable to keep windows open for as long as possible," according to the document, which also states that school facilities must be cleaned at least once a day, and toilets three times a day.

Protocol Against Infection

Autonomous governments will be able to contribute measures to the document at the Sectorial Conference of Education which also outlines the protocol for Centres in the event that someone contracts coronavirus.

If a student has symptoms of Covid-19, he or she must be moved to a separate space for individual use, surgical masks must be worn by the student and the person taking care of them and the School should contact the family.

The Centre must also call the appropriate Health Centre and the Occupational Risk Prevention Service if a staff member shows symptoms of coronavirus.

"In case of severity or difficulty breathing, call 112. Public Health will be responsible for identifying and monitoring contacts in the corresponding Autonomous Community as per protocol," states the Government document.