The Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, Vicent Marzà has said that schoold will return in the Valencian Community on 7 September but that masks will be compulsory for all children from 6 years of age.

He also said that children will have their temperatures checked at the start of each school day.

Following the interdepartmental meeting between the ministries of Education and Health the minister of Education in the Generalitat said that “our responsibility is to adapt at all times to the evolution of the pandemic and the Valencian model that we will apply is marked by this adaptability. That is why we must respect social distancing that we already have established and following its recommendation by the health authorities, all students from 6 years of age must also wear a mask in class”. Children from ages 3 to 5 who use school transportation will also need to wear a mask.

Hands must be washed or cleaned five times a day as a minimum and there must be frequent ventilation throughout the school. If possible windows will remain open all the time or for at least 10 minutes between classes.

All 1st year ESO students and a very high percentage of the rest of the levels will attend class every day in classrooms with a metre and a half distance between students.

At the other educational levels, if there is not enough space to cater for all the students with the necessary separation from each other, the students will go school on alternate days.

The Valencian Community defined a health protocol for returning to safe classrooms a number of weeks ago, for which more than 207 million euros in resources and increases in personnel have already been made. Nearly three million reusable masks and more than 86,000 litres of hydro alcoholic gel have been purchased to supply to schools.

There will be lower child to teacher ratios in schools, with the addition of 4,374 more teachers, 1,670 in the Alicante Province, as well as the employment of some 3,000 additional cafeteria monitors. There will be protection and hygiene material available for children and for staff, the reorganization and marking of educational spaces, canteen and school transport services, as well as the establishment of a COVID area in each educational centre.

Minister Marzà explained that “everyone belonging to the Valencian educational community is working hard to apply the safety, protection and hygiene measures that will be applied during the next Valencian school year and once again I want to thank the management teams and the teaching staff for their determination, their involvement and the great effort they are making to adapt all educational dynamics to this new situation”.

He said that next week a website for the resolution of doubts will be opened for the entire educational community and there will also be a specific ‘call centre’ to answer any question by telephone.