SPAIN: 136 Salesian schools educating more than 95,000 students with safety measures in place
(MissionNewswire) In early September, 136 Salesian schools throughout Spain started again, educating more than 95,000 students and employing thousands of teachers and staff members. The Salesian educational centers are following safety protocols to provide a safe environment.
Salesian teachers and staff members worked over their summer holiday to prepare for the new school year, including how to address some of the challenges children have faced in the lockdowns. At the start of the new school year, a virtual meeting was held for more than 400 elementary education teachers to discuss the emotional health of children.
“We have never disconnected,” said Rosa Erro, a teacher at the Salesian Institute in Pamplona. “We put together a team in the summer and adopted some measures for the start of the new school year.”
José Antón, from the Salesian Elche Institute, explained, “Since July, we have adapted the protocols put forth by the authorities. It was an ongoing job, but we did it with enthusiasm and with the final goal in mind that children can come to school feeling accompanied and safe.”
Salesian schools have employed new safety measures including daily temperature assessment of staff and students, social distancing, and the use of face masks. There has also been a coordinator appointed for the management of the virus emergency who will monitor compliance with hygiene measures and will be in direct contact with families and the health center.
From the very beginning, Salesian educational centers have insisted on making students aware of the importance of following preventive measures. A Salesian representative in Pamplona stated, “We have prepared a welcome day for the whole center, but with a tutor present in the classroom to focus on the educational aspects, prevention and collaboration.”
Salesian missionaries have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women in Spain through residential, technical and vocational training programs. Although teachers are available to start providing distance learning again in the event of a new lockdown, the importance of face-to-face education is emphasized in Salesian schools.
Close to 37 percent of young Spanish workers under the age of 25 are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. Poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment. Women in Spain face inequality in the workforce. They earn up to 14 percent less than men and represent only 34.5 percent of those listed as the highest earners in Spain.
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Salesian Missions – Spain
World Bank – Spain