New rules kick in at the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year. | EFE

The start of the new school year is just weeks away and there's a whole new set of rules in place in the Balearic Islands that students and parents will have to adhere to when classes begin.

Playgrounds will be subdivided with fences, students will have to enter and exit through different doors, in shifts and parents won’t be allowed to go inside, they’ll have to wait at the door.

Education Centres have already adapted health protocols according to fit their facilities and number of students, based on instructions from the Education Department and the Health Department.

Three scenarios are being contemplated at Education Centres in the Balearic Islands; the new normal, some restrictive measures and total confinement.

There's talk of 'bubble groups' with a maximum of 25 children in each group," says Albert Lobo, President of the Federation of Student Parents' Associations, or FAPA.

Presential education is chosen in scenario A, known as the new normal and in the event that it has to go to scenario B, with restrictive measures, “a class will be divided into two groups with a maximum of 15 students,” says Lobo. “1st year ESO students would have face-to-face education but 2nd year ESO would be blended and in this case, many Secondary Schools will give classes on alternate days so that they do not lose contact with the Centre. In scenario C, Infant, Primary, ESO and Secondary students would have telematic teaching.

Creating ‘bubble groups’ is a disruption for Education Centres, because they have to adapt their facilities, according to Joana Maria Mas, President of the Associació de Directors i Directors d’Educació Infantil i Primària de Mallorca, or Adipma.

“In order to be able to separate groups of students all possible spaces are being enabled, from the gym to the library, the corridors, music rooms and hall, she said. “In Centres that don’t have enough space, the Council will be asked for help and as a last resort we will go to modular classrooms,” but Mas says teaching in the courtyard is not being contemplated.


"Courtyards will be subdivided with barriers to keep ‘bubble groups’ isolated from the rest of their classmates at recess and classes will last from 45-50 minutes," says Joan Ramon Xamena, President of the Associació de Directors i Directors d’Educació Secundària de Mallorca, or Adesma.

All toys will be removed from Infant classrooms with only the essential ones remaining, tables will be separated and extracurricular activities such as dancing will be eliminated.

30 ESO students will be allowed per classroom and 35 students in high school.

“These ratios were considered in June but a lot has happened since then and the figures need to be updated,” says Lobo.

More details about the return to school will be released over the coming days.