Concern, relief as Spanish children return to school amid COVID-19

Concern, relief as Spanish children return to school amid COVID-19

Pupils have their temperature checked before entering on the first day of school amid the coronavir
Pupils have their temperature checked before entering on the first day of school after summer holidays amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Mariano Jose de Larra public school in Madrid, Spain, September 8, 2020. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID: Wearing colourful masks, the pupils of the Mariano Jose de Larra primary school in Madrid laughed and played on Tuesday (Sep 8) morning before their teachers made them form two lines at the gates to measure their temperature.

It was the first day back at school for millions of Spanish children after a six-month break, bringing parents feelings of both relief and worry about a possible rise in coronavirus infections.

"I'm a teacher and I still haven't brought my children back to school because it's not safe yet," said Maria Varas, who teaches music. "For many days we've been working long hours, but it doesn't just depend on us. Families, society, they've got to join us in this."

READ: Spain passes 500,000 COVID-19 cases in Western European first

READ: As Spain cases soar, school return comes too soon for some

On Monday Spain became the first western European country to pass 500,000 cumulative cases of coronavirus after detecting almost 50,000 in the past week. Eight new deaths were reported on Monday, bringing the total to 29,516.

With younger people now accounting for more infections than any other group, officials have sought to calm fears that the return to school will trigger a surge in contagion and imposed mandatory masks, smaller classes and regular hand washing.

They say a repeat of the epidemic's late-March peak, which pushed hospitals to breaking point and killed close to a thousand a day, is unlikely.

Father of two Richard Moreno was confident in the government's handling and was happy to see the gates reopen.

"It gives us hope because after being locked up so long, look how happy they are to see each other again. It's marvellous," he told Reuters.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram

Source: Reuters

Bookmark