President Armengol said on Thursday that the new school year will be "complicated" but that it is "necessary to guarantee the education" of some 170,000 schoolchildren.
Accompanied by the education minister, Martí March, Armengol was speaking outside the gates of a school in Palma. "We have given a high priority to returning to school in person," she observed, while accepting that problems may well arise. The president stressed the hiring of 560 new teachers for this school year, the government having increased teacher numbers by 2,000 over the past five years.
March defended the recent policies adopted for the return to school, saying that they were the only way for the educational community to improve on what had initially been prepared. The schools have opened, he noted, "safely and with excellent work from management teams and teachers".
The minister added that all possible space is being used and that class sizes have been reduced so that safety measures can be respected. He agreed with the president that problems could occur but insisted that there are adequate protocols in place. He praised parents for having taken their children to school "how and when they should be" and believed that there will be solidarity among the whole educational community, as "the virus is the enemy".
The director-general of school planning and organisation, Antoni Morante, was with Armengol and March. He stated that the return to school had proceeded with "normality" and that there had been "fewer incidents" (e.g. delays with school buses) than in previous years.
Morante said that at present there are "four or five" teachers in the Balearics who are positive for coronavirus. At one school in Ibiza, where a teacher has tested positive, thirteen other members of staff (there are 32 in all) are isolating. The school didn't open on Thursday because there weren't enough teachers. He added that "we know that we will have infections, but all the protocols have been prepared so that there is a controlled situation".
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