Since last March, the School has not stopped working to adapt its facilities and operations to the conditions dictated by COVID-19, an effort that encompasses our entire educational community and in which we continue to be immersed.
This year is undoubtedly the year of COVID-19. The coronavirus has hit all corners of society on a global scale, and in this context, educational centers have not escaped its effects. Since the declaration of the state of alarm in March, at the School we have worked to alleviate the adverse effects that this situation could produce on the training of our students, an effort in which, despite having returned to face-to-face classes at almost all levels, we are still immersed.
The closure of schools during the state of alarm forced our entire educational community to change the way of offering and attending classes. Going from face-to-face education to online education was not easy, but thanks to the ability of the College as a reference center for Google and the efforts of the Foundation San Fernando In order to provide the center and the families with the necessary technological resources, the course ended with the objectives achieved. A good example of this are the results obtained by the students of the 2nd year of Baccalaureate in the university entrance exams, in which they obtained a 100% pass rate and an average grade higher than the regional average. At the same time, the School was adapting its spaces to the new reality, signaling the transits through its facilities and taking the necessary preventive measures to guarantee the health of the workers who continued to go to the workplace and the few visits that could be made. to receive.
New course, new challenges
Far from ending, the pandemic brought new challenges for the 2020-2021 academic year. For several weeks before the start of the classes, the management of the center and the study heads worked on the development of a Contingency Plan that would respond to the different possible scenarios. It was a laborious and complex process, given the slowness and the changes of criteria of the administrations, which in turn forced to introduce continuous modifications in the plan. But we were finally able to complete the document, which is under constant review based on the indications we receive from the health and educational authorities.
Parallel to the Contingency Plan, during the weeks prior to the beginning of the course, the College planned and prepared for the beginning of classes. Staggered entrances and exits were designed through different doors and schedules depending on the different levels; Different recess hours were organized according to the different levels and stable groups of coexistence; progress was made in signage both on the access slope and exterior of the center and in the interior corridors and courtyards of the center; The classrooms that were already working were prepared and new spaces were fitted out (old library, Science Lab, Technology classrooms, Audiovisual classroom, laboratories…) so that all students could attend class meeting the safety distances; blended learning was planned in 3rd and 4th year of ESO and Baccalaureate (given the lack of space to comply with the distances), and so on. In Baccalaureate we have recently corrected this situation by expanding the existing classrooms, knocking down partitions and raising others in spaces located between these classrooms. This has allowed the return of all the students to one hundred percent face-to-face teaching. However, the cameras that had been provided to these classes are being used to offer the sessions online to those students who cannot attend the center for any reason.
Stable groups of coexistence
One of the most important points addressed before the start of the course was the creation of stable coexistence groups (bubble groups), created with the aim of restricting the contacts of the students in the center and facilitating tracking when a positive occurred. . We had to create new groups of 20/21 students, so that, in practice, the School works as if it were on line 5. In fact, new teachers have been hired to meet the new educational needs. The creation of these groups was not an easy task, since the changes led to the separation of students who had been classmates, in most cases, for years. Being aware of this, the Board of Directors made this decision with a single priority criterion: preserve the health of the students. Later in the course, we can say that the children have adapted in an exemplary way, perfectly understanding the situation and responding in the best possible way, making new friends and following the classes with total normality. However, it is a temporary solution, and the objective is that once the pandemic ends, the groups return to their original configuration.
Another of the authorities' requirements for this course has been the designation of a person in charge of coordinating care at the center and contacting the health authorities when there is a suspected case of COVID-19. In the case of our center, our COVID-19 coordinator also has a degree in Medicine. To attend to people (students or workers of the center) who present a symptom compatible with the disease, the center has enabled two COVID rooms with all the necessary material to attend them with maximum security.
Cleanliness and hygiene, which have always been very important at the School, have been especially reinforced this year. Through the Foundation San Fernando Special equipment has been purchased for cleaning and disinfection of all facilities, which is done several times a day. In the same way, special care is being taken in ventilation and air purification, since it has been shown that this is one of the main routes of infection.
Video about the anti-COVID-19 measures implemented at the School, also on Sanfer Channel.
The best air quality, thanks to the installation of Biow equipment
The Foundation San Fernando has resorted to the latest available technology and has acquired Biow equipment for broad spectrum nanofiltration and thermal sterilization located in all the Early Childhood Education classrooms and in the Technology classrooms, as well as in the teachers' lounge.
Biow's are devices especially indicated for use in educational centers, as they provide a protected environment from viruses, bacteria and microorganisms, minimizing the risk of contagion by aerosols in closed spaces, which is one of the main transmission routes of the coronavirus. Unlike equipment used in other centers, Biow is NOT an air purifier, it does not emit ozone, or hydrogen peroxide, or any other chemical component that could be harmful to health. It has a continuous laminar flow that does not remove the air, and incorporates ultraviolet-C light that effectively eliminates SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses and bacteria in closed spaces. In addition, it removes nanoparticles smaller than 0,1 µm, ultrafine particles 0,3, PM 2,5, PM 10-2,5, PM 10, gases, odors and allergens.
Biow's technology, Wide Spectrum Nano 10, has a scientifically proven efficacy (it has been tested by the Biomedical Research Institute of the Principality of Asturias (ISPA) and by the University Clinic of Navarra), and complies with current legal regulations for the fight against COVID-19, with medical certificates provided with each unit.
Services adapted to the situation
The pandemic has also affected our extracurricular and sports activities, whose groups have also been formed following the line of stable coexistence groups and keeping all security measures. In fact, in addition to the widespread use of the mask, in sports activities some exercises and training have been changed to avoid direct contact between students.
For their part, the canteen and school transport services have also adapted to the new situation. In the first case, new spaces have been adapted and special emphasis has been placed on separating the coexistence groups by tables, and on maintaining the safety distance between them. In the case of users who do not belong to bubble groups, the necessary measures have also been adopted to keep the 1,5m separation. Regarding buses, the use of the mask inside is mandatory from 6 years old and highly recommended from 3 to 5. Also, each student has a fixed location in the vehicle.
Obviously, to everything listed must be added the hygienic and sanitary measures known to all: use of a mask, hand hygiene, maintaining safety distances, etc.
This summary is worth a brief review of all the work carried out since before the beginning of the course, an effort of all those who are part of the School, including families, without whose collaboration and involvement in all these processes it would not be possible for our activity to be developing as satisfactorily as it is doing so far.