A plan to test thousands of teachers for coronavirus before in-person schooling resumes in Spain this week had to be abandoned halfway through the day in the capital Madrid as lines reportedly more than a kilometre long formed outside the medical centre selected for the process.
Wednesday’s testing process had to be cut short because of the lack of social distancing outside the centre, according to sources from Madrid’s regional education ministry, EFE reported.
While some teachers told EFE that they had been given appointments at the centre as late as Tuesday (1 September) night, others said that health and safety measures in place outside the centre were minimal and that the situation had made it impossible to maintain social distancing.
Primary and secondary teachers waited in line at Virgen de la Paloma high school, one of the five centres set up to carry out the serological COVID-19 tests in the Madrid region but the only one in the city, for hours before being able to access the building.
Enrique Ossorio, the regional education councillor, told TeleMadrid that one of causes of the problem was that teachers had arrived early for their appointments.
The Madrid government, currently led by conservative regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has plans to test 100,000 teachers and school staff before classrooms reopen for the first time since March.
Pre-schoolers are set to return first, on 4 September, while the return to school for other age groups will be staggered throughout the month.
Spanish education officials are sticking to their plans to open classrooms again despite a recent surge in coronavirus cases. (EUROEFE with EPA)