Sunday, September 19

This is how the third school year in pandemic in the Region of Murcia has begun: without support teachers and with ratios of more than 25 children

The entrance of the schools has returned to fill in the Region. The children, crowded at the entrance, have shared summer experiences with their classmates. Parents discussed among themselves the price of books, school supplies and, as from last year, also the price of masks. “There is always a confused parent who enters without having to enter or who arrives a little later than his time,” says Francisco José Peñalver, director of the Nuestra Señora de Fátima de Molina de Segura center. Children have been starting the course for two years in an atypical way, but this is the first in which absences are noticed. This time, presiding over the ranks of each class, there are no longer the COVID booster teachers.

COVID has not stopped conversations between parents leaving school. Among them there is a diversity of opinions regarding the relaxation of the measures. Many lament the lack of safety distance between students: “The classrooms are not so big as to maintain the distance. Fortunately, there are classes that do not complete the ratio, but there are others that are saturated and a split would not hurt “says one of the mothers. “The distance I do not think is guaranteed. It is also true that in the courtyard they meet each other and the distance I do not think is fulfilled because they are children,” says another.

“If there are no teachers, the unfolding cannot be maintained. Last year the classes were of up to twenty students. Now with the total presence there are about 20 or 25 children per class. With that number of children it is impossible to maintain the meter and medium and even the subway with two. Last year the COVID reinforcement was very good for us to split classes, as support or to use other spaces “, laments Peñalver.

Murcia, the only community without reversing the cuts of 2012

“It is not only that they have not put in teachers, it is that they have even cut teachers compared to last year. We are also the only community that has not reversed the cuts in teachers in 2012,” denounces Nuria Montiel, spokesperson for Teachers United.

“They are saying to maintain the security measures of one in twenty, but we have classrooms of 20 square meters and it is impossible with the current ratios. It goes against what the health authorities recommend. Keep in mind that we are more than six hours put in a class only with cross ventilation and masks, “Montiel abounds.

In the classes the space is used “as much as possible” so that the students remain separated, but little can be done. In many classes children could shake hands from their desks. They remain seated, with their masks, while they listen to the teacher’s instructions on how to put the names in this year’s textbooks.

“I know that schools, principals and parents are going to comply. Children are going to comply, since last year they are the ones who have complied with the regulations the most and who are most grateful for the effort they made. But it is true that With the elimination of the COVID reinforcement teachers, it gives the feeling that the counseling has not made the necessary effort to guarantee everyone’s safety. Segura, and former director of that educational center.

García recalls that “the Community receives from the Government of Spain aid for this type of reinforcement and I think that what was most expected is that at least this first quarter there would be a reinforcement that would facilitate the work at the beginning of the course.”

From Docentes Unidos they wonder in which these aid will be invested now that the measures in the Region have been relaxed: “In more computers?” Montiel asks sarcastically. “This is the general modus operandi of the regional government: inaction, laziness, lack of investment and blaming the central government. This is what has happened with the Mar Menor, this is what has happened with education, health or public transport. We have seen dead fish drowning in the Mar Menor, but as we do not see children suffocating in classrooms, it seems that it is not something relevant. However, the educational community is suffocating, “says the spokeswoman for Docentes Unidos.

Given these conditions, the centers have been the ones who have had to take the initiative to maintain security: “We have bought two mobile classes. We have the screens to place, the gels, surface cleaners, masks of all kinds. We have rugs for children to step on and have their feet cleaned “, lists Peñalver.

“Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty. The day before yesterday an email arrived from a girl who has been in close contact with a positive and is not going to attend class at the moment. That kind of dripping creates uncertainty in the teachers,” acknowledges the director of the center.

No school transportation

This morning there were also more parents in the centers than usual since they have had to take their children to school due to the suspension of school transport services due to the conflict between the companies that carry them out and the Ministry of Education: “The The incompetence of this Autonomous Community is demonstrated, today, September 6, with the issue of transportation.In the Nuestra Señora de Fátima educational center in Molina, more than 100 students have not been able to use school transport because the Ministry has not done its job. . Still without extending the contract renewal for three years with the transport company, they have been with this issue since June. The school transport strike continues, the Ministry has had four months to solve this, “says García.

In total, almost 20,000 children in the Region depend on school transportation. “Many parents have had to be late to work because of this, they have had a long time to solve it,” complains one of the parents who needs this transport.

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