Mexico’s federal government is promoting the return of children to school, but many parents are afraid.
“I don’t believe that what the president is pushing is okay. Children and teenagers should not return to school yet, as there has not been a decrease in COVID-19 cases in the country,” said Lucía Morteo Vázquez, a housewife in Boca del Rio, Veracruz.
School officials have organized a return to face-to-face schooling on June 7 to resume school activities as quickly as possible.
Many families have declared that they will not send their children.
“Even though the school officials ordered schools to be sanitized, I will not take my son to school because I feel that it is still risky, especially as the disease hurts both young and old alike. Although the government has vaccinated teachers and school workers, it is not guaranteed that our kids will be okay, as the general population is yet to receive it. Furthermore, there is a possibility that there will be a spike in COVID cases when children return to their classrooms,” she said.
Delfina Gómez Álvarez, the head of the Secretariat of Public Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública, SEP), announced that there would be a protocol to gradually return to classrooms to guarantee children’s safety and health. Only families that volunteer will return to school as it will not be mandatory for all children.
Though the Mexican government decreed that the voluntary return to classrooms will begin on June 7, each state and municipality will decide, based on regional conditions and the epidemiological traffic light, when students return. In order to guarantee the children’s health, school authorities will apply protocols and filters at school entrances and in classrooms.
Face-to-face school activities will not be held every day. Classes will follow a staggered system so that children only attend class on certain days of the week.
However, children of parents who do not wish to participate will continue taking their classes online since virtual classes will continue at least until the end of the current school year.
While some families do not plan to send their children back to school, other families believe it is the best option.
“It is up to each parent to decide whether their children will return to school,” said Ernesto Chávez Terrones, a family man in Veracruz. “I would like my son to return to school, for at least a few days a week, so long as the teachers maintain the health standards. I want him to return to re-socialize with people his age, as it is something necessary for his mental health. These have been difficult times.”
(Translated and edited by Mario Vázquez; edited by Kristen Butler)
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