“If we want the boys and girls to go back to the classroom in March, we have to be extremely careful today”, Santiago Cafiero said this Friday. The phrase, launched during the conference in which the Government did not announce the restrictions that the Government itself had confirmed 24 hours earlier, revived the pessimism sedimented over a year without face-to-face classes.
It was a lot like the anticipation of bad news.
There is an initial approach to the subject from the discursive. The statement of the Chief of Staff continued the line traveled by the ruling party during 2020: the first alternative, without nuances, is the prohibition of going back to school. Cafiero did not say, for example: “Despite the rise in infections, we are going to work to ensure the return to classrooms, but we ask that extreme care be taken”, a formulation that would have shown greater commitment to the necessary presence in schools.
But also, in the same presentation in which the Government reversed the idea of restrictions on night-time traffic – with the inevitable consequence of time limits for bars and restaurants – due to the economic damage it would cause, the activity was questioned. school, devaluing its significance. If supporting production is essential, guaranteeing the presence of children in classrooms is even more so, a reality that at this point requires more sophisticated strategies than the threat suggested by Cafiero.
The Government insists almost a year later on the idea expressed by President Alberto Fernández at the beginning of the pandemic and that until now has not found a less harmful look: “Classes can wait.”
Perhaps more serious, what has been said confirms the systematic official denial of international scientific studies that show that school activity has little influence on the growth of infections.
The World Health Organization reported that of the Covid cases, only 2.5% affected boys between 4 and 14 years old, and 9.6% affected young people between 15 and 24. An investigation published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, meanwhile, concluded last December that “Infections and outbreaks were rare in educational settings after the European summer vacation.”
Among us, the evidence is opposed by the empirical arguments of a part of the teaching unions. “If the conditions are not given, we will not accompany (return to classrooms). We have been saying it from the beginning at the national level ”, Norberto Cabanas, general secretary of UDA in the City, anticipated a few days ago. It is still curious that the speech of the government of scientists, as defined by the president himself, find more points of contact with union arguments than with relevant studies and statistics worldwide.
Education cannot be the hostage with which it threatens to punish alleged excesses. The way is different: start in February the promised vaccination of teachers, and take extreme measures so that on March 1 the students return to the classrooms.