In the middle of the third wave of the pandemic, more than 25 million children and adolescents from preschool, primary and secondary school have returned to face-to-face classes this Monday. After 17 months of closure due to the coronavirus, the Government of López Obrador has given the starting signal to reopen the schools amid the reluctance of parents of families and teachers who have expressed their doubts about the lack of services in schools and the lack of protocols to reduce the risk of infection to their children at one of the most critical moments of the health crisis that has caused at least 258,000 deaths and more than 3.3 million positive cases in the country.
In the midst of the debate on whether it is prudent to return to the classroom in person, the president of Mexico defended once again this Monday the need to return to schools. “It is a very important day because girls, boys, adolescents return to public and private schools, the school year begins, an effort has been made. Most will participate because the school is irreplaceable, the school not only receives knowledge, it is a center for coexistence, it has to do with the feelings expressed between boys and girls, ”López Obrador declared this morning.
With a simultaneous link to different states of the country during the morning conference, the president gave the starting signal to a return to classes that has generated more doubts than certainties among the educational community. According to the Ministry of Public Education (SEP) between 90 and 95% of the schools in Mexico City are in operation. In-person classes are expected to begin in the 32 states, but at different speeds. In most schools a mixed scheme is contemplated with face-to-face and virtual classes.
From a secondary school in the Álvaro Obregón mayor’s office, the head of Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, assured this morning that an operation was implemented for a safe return to classes in the capital. While the governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, emphasized that parents who do not want to take their children to classrooms will be able to continue in the virtual mode. In Jalisco alone, the return of more than 1.6 million students from basic education is expected. Among the SEP guidelines for a safe return, it has been established that students keep a healthy distance, occupy desks no less than 1.5 meters away from each other. All students must wear face masks, wash their hands constantly and it is strictly forbidden to touch, use or loan any material for personal use.
Despite the indication of the Ministry of Public Education (SEP) of the voluntary return to face-to-face classes, some States of the Republic, such as Michoacán, considered that the necessary conditions for a safe return do not exist. In addition, entities such as Baja California Sur and Sinaloa decided not to return to the classroom due to the advance of the hurricane Nora, which has already caused one death off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. In addition, the union coordinator CNTE has declared on her Twitter account that there are no security conditions for the more than two million teachers and the millions of students in preschool, primary and secondary education.
Mexico reported until August 22 a total of 65,426 coronavirus infections and 640 deaths of minors due to the disease, according to the most recent report from the Executive Secretariat of the National System for the Protection of Girls, Boys and Adolescents. The State of Mexico, Nuevo León, Baja California, Puebla and Mexico City are the entities that have registered the highest number of deaths of minors due to the virus.
In the accumulated, deaths in Mexico exceeded more than 258,000 and more than 3.3 million infected. In the last five weeks, most of the cases were registered in the population group between 18 and 29 years old, according to official statistics. The national hospital occupancy in general beds remained at 51% and in beds with a ventilator it was 46%.
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