“I’m so cold that I can’t concentrate”

The anti-Covid protocols to try to avoid contagions force to ventilate the classrooms and despite the existence of artificial processes, the vast majority of centers are opting to open the windows to renew the air, since it is the ideal and that the budgets with the They do not allow large expenses. Many voices had been warning of the problem that this would pose when winter arrived, but few could imagine that on this occasion Spain would also suffer the worst storm in the last 50 years. Teaching in these circumstances is becoming “unsustainable”, as denounced by the State Confederation of Student Associations (Canae).

A snow plow on a street in Madrid.

“I’ve been so cold that I couldn’t concentrate“says a young man from a center in Murcia.” In my institute it is so cold that some students bring blankets, “agrees another from the same community.” We are on the fourth floor, with everything open and the stoves turned off, “he said. They add up from Córdoba, in what are just some of the testimonies that Canae is collecting to know the experience of the kids.

In the messages that arrive you can also read stories from Malaga, where they say they feel like “in an industrial size freezer“, or Extremadura, where they complain about the humidity due to the rain and the lack of heating. Many of the stories are accompanied by photos that, as is also the case in Valencia or Seville, show teachers and students sitting at their tables without taking off their coats and equipped with gloves, scarves and hats.

Students with coats, gloves and hoods to withstand the cold in class.
Students with coats, hoods and blankets in class due to the low temperatures and the need to have the windows open due to the anti-Covid protocols.

Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha, two of the autonomous regions most affected by the storm Filomena, have extended the closure of schools until Monday, opting for education on-line, but the rest have returned to the face-to-face system. “There are two fronts. On the one hand, the communities that are suffering the most from the consequences of this storm. And on the other hand, others, such as perhaps those of the Mediterranean, which are less cold but have prefabricated centers and institutes without adequate facilities” explains Andrea G. Henry, president of the confederation. It is at this point that the extreme situation that is being experienced brings out again a problem they have been complaining about for years and that now is strongly aggravated.

-15 degrees in teruel

  • The scenes of students and teachers wrapped up to the ears and covered with blankets also take place in areas where schools are usually well prepared to face low temperatures, but certainly not so extreme. With thermometers dropping to historic levels and the need for ventilation, things get complicated. “When I arrived at the institute at nine in the morning it was -15 degrees. The management team approached the day before to put the heating on, but you face the Covid and have to open the windows every so often,” says a professor of A town from Teruel, who believes that if with this storm and an incidence of coronavirus as high as that of recent weeks, the closure of schools and online teaching has not been resorted to, they no longer believe that it is done.

“We want to make visible the precariousness that many centers and institutes have suffered for a long time. We know that there are some with an old heating system that works very badly, others that do not have it directly as they are barracks, there are those that have isolation problems … There are many We do not have figures because there is no data on how each center is doing, but because of the complaints that come to us we can talk about it being a fairly generalized situation, “Andrea laments. A situation that every winter comes to light “but is soon forgotten” and that this time has emerged more harshly. The organization demands that the Administrations all educational facilities have a quality air conditioning system, and not only designed for the cold, since excessive heat also causes inconveniences.

Bet on presence but in “decent conditions”

The young woman is aware that her demands will not be met in time to face the current Siberian wave, so the solution now involves take measures that allow immediate action. In this sense, it proposes issues such as taking advantage of the blended shifts that are being carried out to reduce the ratios and that “it is guaranteed that the students who have to go to the center are in the classrooms that have fewer problems.”

Another option is to maintain distance education for all students while the weather conditions continue to be so adverse, but as long as it is efficient and there is no loss of time in the educational process. “Students want to go to class. We believe that presence is irreplaceable. But we need the conditions to be decent. Classrooms must be ventilated because they have to be safe, but education is a fundamental right whose quality must be guaranteed “, Andrea ditch.

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