A student does homework on the street while his mother works in a public parking lot in Mexico City.CARLOS JASSO / Reuters
The Mexican government does not give up its efforts to open schools before the end of the current school year, after a year of closure due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced this Tuesday that the federal administration will expand the vaccination program for 529,989 people from the educational system of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Chiapas and Nayarit, states that maintain a low incidence rate of infections, according to the epidemiological map of the Ministry of Health.
The announcement comes a week after the opening of schools in Campeche, the first state in the country where education personnel have already been vaccinated and whose return to classes will be a litmus test for educational authorities.
Hugo López-Gatell, Undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, has reported that they have decided to reactivate face-to-face classes in States that have favorable conditions, that is, “low epidemic activity”.
For this, he explained, they will organize new vaccination brigades under the coordination of the Ministry of Health and with the support of the Navy, the Ministry of National Defense, the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) and the Institute of Security and Services. State Workers' Social (ISSSTE).
"It is the way in which we will organize the operation so as not to distract the resources of the personnel who are in the other towns and to be able to advance simultaneously," added the official.
López-Gatell has said that they hope to vaccinate three million people in the educational system to guarantee the reopening of schools nationwide.
"The objective is to reactivate public education, this is one of the fundamental rights of society that has been interrupted by the pandemic for a little more than a year and we want to reactivate it where there are favorable epidemiological conditions," López-Gatell reiterated.
The plans of the Ministry of Education contemplate that the return to the classroom begins in the States that have turned green within the epidemiological traffic light, but parents and teachers doubt that schools have basic guarantees for a safe return to classes.
A study published in 2019 by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval) reveals that 81% of the properties are located in buildings with minimal sanitary conditions.
The eyes of Mexicans are on Campeche, a state in the green color of the epidemiological traffic light, where this Monday the first 137 primary schools will reopen, mainly located in rural areas with low population density.
In these remote places it is difficult for students to access education online due to poor internet and television service.
Ricardo Koh Cambranis, Secretary of Education of Campeche, has affirmed that "99% of the teachers have already had two doses of the vaccine" in his State, the first condition for returning to face-to-face classes.
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Local authorities have divided the process of reopening schools into three phases: the first begins this Monday, with primary schools.
Koh Cambranis has explained that these educational centers have already received the necessary cleaning equipment and protective equipment for teachers.
In addition, this Wednesday will begin the process of sanitation of the centers, in coordination with parents and health and education personnel.
"Together with the Ministry of Health, we are going to be aware that there will be no problem in the next three weeks and thus add 486 preschool, primary and secondary schools, in the second phase of reopening," explained the official.
In the third phase, he added, schools of all educational levels will be reopened in the municipal seats of the State, including private schools.
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