Spanish education minister says benefits of reopening schools outweigh risks

Madrid, May 13 (EFE).- Spanish Minister of Education Isabel Celaá said Thursday that the advantage of students of all ages returning to classrooms far outweigh the risks.

She is due to discuss the issue at a meeting with the health ministry and regional governments next week.

Celaa made the remarks during a discussion on the “Opportunities for education cooperation in Latin America,” which was attended by the secretary-general of the Organization of Ibero-American States, Mariano Jabonero and the President of EFE, Gabriela Cañas.

Throughout the past academic year, many Spanish students at different levels of middle and high school have been learning through a combination of remote, online classes and in-person lessons at school, depending on their place of residence.

Celaá said that many regional education secretaries have asked for a general return to classes.

“A return to face-to-face teaching cannot be replaced, it is worth the risk to keep schools open,” Celaá said, adding that infection rates “have been lower and very manageable.”

The Spanish education minister emphasized the effectiveness of good ventilation in classrooms and the use of face masks in kids 6 years old and older.

Jabonero also stressed the importance of the reopening of schools in all organization’s member states.

He said that 70 % of the 23 OEI states had reopened schools, with a few countries lagging behind.

The secretary-general warned of the growing digital gap, which because of the global pandemic could worsen the conditions of poor communities, especially in more vulnerable rural and indigenous populations in Latin America.

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