The coronavirus has forced students of all ages from 2,852 classrooms across Spain to go into quarantine since the beginning of the school year, according to data provided by regional authorities to the Education Ministry. This represents less than 1% of the total, but the percentage of affected classes varies greatly between Spain’s 17 regions. Education authorities say that the number of classes in quarantine is at a manageable level where schools can continue to operate relatively normally, given the exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the confinement of classes is a serious problem for thousands of families. Only a few regions have responded to EL PAÍS’s questions about how many students have been affected, and the Education Ministry has not yet offered a total figure. But if an average class has 15 students, which is a conservative estimate, it means that more than 40,000 students have been quarantined since the beginning of the school year. This includes pupils of all ages, including teenagers who can stay home alone and study remotely with relative guarantees of success. But many other students are small children who need to be looked after by a parent or adult during their isolation period. This has led to difficulties with parents’ work and sparked concerns about the impact of quarantines on children’s education.
The Madrid regional government announced on Friday that it will extend the coronavirus mobility restrictions that currently affect 37 basic health areas in the region to eight new zones.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday morning, Madrid’s deputy health chief Antonio Zapatero said the move was aimed at “stopping the spread of the coronavirus” in the region, which has the highest incidence rate of Covid-19 in Spain, with 746.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.