Photo: UCSF

By ADRIANA GARCÍA VALDERRAMA

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said that he foresees that as soon as all the nation’s education personnel gets  vaccinated against the covid-19 virus, classes will return to “normal” to conclude the 2020-2021 school year with live classes.

According to Mexican Secretary of Public Education Delfina Gómez, vaccination is already underway in Aguascalientes, Baja California, Jalisco, Nuevo León and Oaxaca.

In these states, as well as in Chiapas, Campeche, Coahuila, Nayarit, Tamaulipas and Veracruz, hybrid classes (virtual and live) have been taking place since March, mostly in private institutions, which are intending to keep their students at all costs and justify the tuition fees they have already charged to parents.

While López Obrador is optimistic about the schools opening in mid-May, representatives of the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE) said that teachers are not prepared to go back to live activities due to some risks they still face, such as age, complications associated with chronic diseases and the possibility of catching the virus while using public transportation.

According to the CNTE, school facilities does not have adequate conditions to keep safe distances between students in the classroom.

Also, many schools do not have enough water for frequent hand-washing nor adequate drainage piping. By the same token, in some schools, there is no ventilation and classes may have to be held outdoors in direct sunlight because there aren’t enough spaces to separate children.

Gómez said that the SEP is considering that August would be the best time to return to classes, but before attending academic issues, she said, emotional support should be given to teachers by institutions.

She emphasized that the return should be safe and gradual, and declared that the plans are to make run experiments in July to see how students are doing and check out the “human aspect” for both students and teachers.

Some of them have lost family members and friends from covid-19 and may need psychological support.

In two weeks, the SEP will meet with state governors to examine their schools’ context and community needs.

By the end of March, the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (Inegi) said thatdue to the pandemic, 2.3 million students didn’t receive any classes throughout the current school year of 2020-2021.

In addition, 2.9 million could not register for school due to economic hardships and 3.3 million abandoned school and started working on a regular basis.

…April 28, 2021

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