Schools closed on 13 March.

15-08-2020Teresa Ayuga

The school year starts on 10 September and 168,000 pupils and 14,000 teachers in the Balearics are due to return to the classrooms. However, it is clear that there are parents who are unwilling to allow their children to return because of fear of coronavirus infection. There is, for example, a Change.org petition demanding that pupils at infant and primary levels are kept at home if parents so wish. Parents opposed to letting their children return are saying to the national minister of education, Isabel Celaá, that, even though the teaching process is slower, online classes should be the alternative until infections cease.

Albert Lobo of the Fapa parents association in Majorca says that this opposition to a return to school is most evident in Madrid but that it is an issue for the regional education ministry. He stresses that the Fapa view is that "we have always supported face-to-face teaching over online". "If the situation is as it is now and neither children nor teachers are at risk, we are in favour of them going to school."

Lobo explains that there are parents who are offering to keep children at home in order to "lower classroom ratios", but he adds that requests for home schooling have been turned down by the ministry. However, the parents association is expecting more specific instructions from the ministry towards the end of this month. These may offer "options" other than face-to-face teaching.

The ministry says that "all possible scenarios are being studied". "We are waiting to see how the pandemic evolves. The objective is to guarantee the schooling and attendance of pupils in the Balearics."

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