In San Miguel, 32 schools registered to participate in the pilot program to return to in-person classes in Guanajuato State. The call for applicant schools ended on April 30. Between May 5 and 11, more than 85 thousand teachers and 50 thousand workers in educational centers in Guanajuato State will be vaccinated. The Federal Government announced that the vaccine will be CanSino, which is administered in a single dose. In May, the Department of Health will also begin to vaccinate the second age group in the general population, those 50 to 59 years old.
To date, neither the Federal nor the State government has given an official date for when all students and teachers will return to in-person classes. It is not known if this will take place prior to the end of the 2020-2021 school year in July, or in August of this year for the 2021-2022 school year.
Only three hours a day
Reasons behind the Department of Education of Guanajuato starting the pilot tests have to do with the well-being, safety, and health of students and teachers. The department wants to first ensure that a school is a safe space, that health is promoted, learning is strengthened, that the social and emotional well-being of “the entire educational community” is fostered, and that participants adapt to changes. The schools that volunteered for the pilot test have to implement requisite health measures. These range from the correct use of a face mask to a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between participants. Adequate ventilation of the classrooms, workshops, laboratories, and administrative areas is required. Entrances and exits for students and personnel will have to be staggered, and there will be 10-minute recesses every hour to air out the spaces. Finally, students will be in school for not more than three hours a day.
Some say yes, others don’t want to go back
Atencion San Miguel had access to the data of one of the schools registered for the pilot program. In a survey conducted by the educational center, 56 percent of teachers said they want to return to the classroom, 10.5 percent said maybe, and the rest said no.
The teachers’ reasons varied. Those willing to return consider that students benefit most from attention given in the classroom, that an academic environment without internet connection problems and misinformation encourages educational development. Teachers against returning are fearful of contracting Covid, even though they would be vaccinated. Others said they would possibly be willing to return, provided the necessary measures are guaranteed to prevent the virus from spreading. The director of this institution, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that “unfortunately, the number of parents surveyed about whether or not they want their children to return to the classroom is large, and most of them said no.”
Open my school
In February of this year, the National Association of Private Schools (ANEP) challenged the Federal Government by stating that more than 20,000 educational centers throughout the country would return to in-person classes. ANEP needed the endorsement of the Department of Public Education, however, that did not happen. ANEP had stated, “Private schools, parents, and teachers will start in-person classes on March 1, 2021… Education has been on hold for a year, going on a year and a half, and since the proposal is not to start classes until August, this could last until January (2022) or beyond. This will create more problems of all kinds. After the date proposed by ANEP the SEP did not allow schools to return to in-person classes.
In the latter part of March, a national movement consisting of parents, students, and teachers emerged. They wanted the Department of Public Education to authorize immediately—and with strict protocols—the reopening of private schools. It seems that the Department of Public Education listened to them, and therefore teachers will be vaccinated and the pilot program will begin on May 11.