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200,000 students face as of today a selectivity without the extreme rigidity of last year due to the pandemic

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The Region of Murcia has inaugurated this Tuesday the EBAU (Baccalaureate Assessment for University Access) exams that will take place throughout the country until June 17 in the first round, in a context of less harsh restrictions than last year . The pandemic then forced to delay the tests of the old Selectividad, the home confinement of the population had just ended, but the Spanish Executive – unlike their counterparts in Italy, the United Kingdom or France who canceled it – chose to hold them and, what’s more, in situ, aware that its result marks the work and life future of more than 200,000 high school graduates. The large-scale experiment – it was the first collective act that the Government approved after the confinement – was a success; There was no coronavirus outbreak and this encouraged campuses to schedule the exams for this course in person, even though many classes are held remotely. So, the incidence of the virus was almost anecdotal: eight cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks, versus to the 122 diagnoses on Monday.

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This time it will take place with less extreme sanitary measures, although the Ministries of Health and Universities have drawn up a special protocol. On the last occasion, the candidates were invited to leave as soon as the exam was finished, they had to take the lunch box in the absence of open cafeterias and in many universities it was decided to leave the exams for a few hours without correcting for fear that the examiners would catch it. It won’t happen this time. “We are not worried about the exams, if the protocol is complied with,” they assure from CREUP (Coordinator of Student Representatives of Public Universities). What usually worries the students is the entrance to the exams, when many are swirling, “but in Murcia there is a staggered appeal.”

José Luján, rector of the University of Murcia, points out: “There is an old axiom in law that it is who can do the most, can do the least. After the intense experience last year, it has been organized more calmly ”. There have been no incidents. Candidates in quarantine today will be examined within 10 days “so that there is no harm to their peers,” remarked Sonia Madrid, the Vice Chancellor for Studies. Only one girl, out of 7,263 applicants, has requested the postponement.

The students have spent the year attending class with their masks on, the windows open and gel dispensers everywhere, so the staging will not surprise them like those of 2020, who came from being confined at home . The World Health Organization (WHO) began to propose that the coronavirus could be transmitted by air – it did not recognize it until July 9, when the ordinary call ended – and the health protocol barely recommended wearing the mask when they could not be guarantee the two meters of distance, but the aspirants could take it off while sitting. Scientific doubts led many regional governments to demand at the last minute that protection be carried at all times.

“Last year we did demand the mask all the time, but this year it is a common additional garment,” explains Pilar Vargas, general director of the University and Scientific Policy of the Government of La Rioja. It is not an ordinary call, but it recognizes that it does not have the deployment of last year, when the boys did not move from their institute. There will be 10 test centers in four locations. “Last year we even gave them a bottle of water so they could bring the essentials from home. Now they will bring it ”, he says. What will remain prohibited is the loan of any material (calculator, dictionary or a pen). “The exams are not going to be quarantined, but we do ask that the examiners wash their hands frequently.”

Several students attending the Selectivity exams this Tuesday at the Merced campus of the University of Murcia.
Several students attending the Selectivity exams this Tuesday at the Merced campus of the University of Murcia. Inma G.Pardo

In the EBAU 2021, the mask will be mandatory at all times, but the distance between candidates is reduced from two meters to one and a half, which makes it possible to put more students per classroom. In 2020 it was not a big problem because the classes at the university had ended and most of the exams were online, so there was plenty of space. But this course, as it happens every year, the university students coincide with those who want to be it and the organizers have had to sharpen their ingenuity. A spokeswoman for Universities of the Valencian Community explains that they will not enable the institutes – they only “conquered” them last year so that university applicants would not travel from their neighborhood and take exams in a family environment – but instead do the EBAU in the faculties and alternative venues have been sought. In Alzira, for example, 500 young people are summoned in a banquet hall or in Játiva in a sports center.

La Rioja, like other regions, has designed a program to examine infected or quarantined students who request it on another date, who will be asked for a certificate issued by the Riojano Health Service. “Last year we had no cases, but it was practically their first activity outside after weeks of confinement,” recalls Vargas. 100% of the teachers who supervise the exams have at least one dose of the vaccine. “It is a coincidence, it is a small community and the vaccination strategy is going well.” In most communities, high school teachers will attend having received at least one shot from the vaccine, and all college teachers will be over 50 years of age. The rectors, and on their behalf Minister Manuel Castells, have tried, without success, for this university group to enter the list of essential professionals such as those in high school, who were injected with the first dose between February and March. “The EBAU issue is worrying, but there is a National Vaccination Plan that depends on the Interterritorial Health Council, which receives requests for vaccination from very diverse groups and has to evaluate priorities,” said the minister on May 12 in a conference press. Since then there have been no changes.

On May 26, they began in Italy to inject the first dose of the vaccine to high school graduates who request it and present themselves to the maturity (your Selectivity). Skuola.net, a portal dedicated to students, has surveyed 1,600 high school graduates and 60% said they would rush to get vaccinated, while another 17% were “strongly tempted.” In Spain at no time has an option similar to the Italian one been planned, when not all examiners are immunized, older and therefore with greater options of becoming seriously ill.

In July, all the autonomies except Catalonia will celebrate the extraordinary edition of the EBAU – for those who fail in the first call, which was previously in September – and the health protocols will be repeated, yes, for a smaller number of candidates.

One of the facilities on the Merced campus of the University of Murcia.
One of the facilities on the Merced campus of the University of Murcia.Inma G.Pardo

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