The sector education It has become the latest activity to restart operations in Peru. Not even the category of tourism, concerts or stadiums has been so postponed, with all the effects that the impact on academic training implies for more than 8.5 million students.
As recalled in March 2020, a quarantine was imposed on Martín Vizcarra’s management, only setting virtual classes as a goal, without enabling space in schools for the safe return to classrooms.
16 months have passed, with new administrations in the State, but the face-to-face return to the classrooms still seems far away, the fear is that the spaces will become the focus of contagion of COVID-19, which makes Peru to be located in the group of the last countries in the world to resume this activity.
“In the South American region we have Suriname and in Central America we have Guatemala with a similar situation to Peru; in the other countries of the region there has already been a return to face-to-face or semi-face-to-face classes ”, he says Paul Neira, specialist in educational policy, founder of TLF and corporate director of Innovation of EstudiosPe.
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To this is added that the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has urged Peru to reopen schools before the end of the year.
“We believe that there is no time to lose and that, under the leadership of the Ministry of Education (Minedu), the educational community as a whole can specify during 2021 the return of schoolchildren from all the authorized schools,” they indicated it’s a statement.
What does it take for a safe return?
The rules have already been set, and the Minister of Education, Juan Cadillo, has reiterated that the reopening of schools proceeds only if it is safe, that is, if the educational institutions comply with a set of sanitary, epidemiological measures and biosafety prevention protocols.
Based on this, there are 254,177 schoolchildren who have already returned to classrooms in a blended way, but this does not represent even 3% of the student universe.
The holder of the Ministry of Education (Minedu) estimated in the Council of Ministers August than around 320,000 children are at risk of not returning to classrooms.
Now, it has indicated that there are 85,654 public schools nationwide enabled to provide blended classes, which represents 76.7% of educational services.
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This reflects that there are more than 26,000 schools in the State that do not meet these conditions. A problem that has been dragging on for several years, given that 71% of educational establishments require some type of intervention, according to Cadillo.
When should they return to the classroom?
Paul Neira maintains that agreements must be established between the directors and the parents for the gradual return to the classroom.
In the same way, it details that we are not in the conditions before the pandemic for everyone to enter at 7:00 a.m., nor for everyone to attend, given the concern of some parents about having possible sources of contagion in public transport or in school classrooms.
“Who said that the entry time should be at 7:00 am? An agreement has to be established so that students enter by groups at different times, for example, at 10:00 am when there is less mobility of people, “he said.
Moreover, consider that the rotation of students at different times will allow more space to receive new students.
Contagions in schools, is it a threat?
Patrick Wierghardt, biologist and data analyst, OpenCovid member, cIt states that the opening of schools has occurred in the countries with the highest incidence of infections, such as Germany or the United States, with positivity rates of 8.7% or 12.9%, while in Peru the current positivity rate is 2.3%.
“We have faced the two toughest waves in the world and although there are no definitive seroprevalence studies, it is possible that more than 80% of the population has been immunized due to having experienced COVID infection,” he said.
The specialist details that a plan to return to schools should already be faced, as other countries in the region have done.
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César Ugarte, epidemiologist and researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute of Tropical Medicine of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), argues that the return should begin, mainly in the spaces that allow it and work in smaller schools.
His concern focuses on the possibilities of contagion in public transport, since now without school classes there are buses that are completely full.
Paul Neira reiterates that this is an issue that can be overcome if time agreements are established in which public transport is less congested.
Rodrigo Parra, electronic engineer and data analyst, cIt is said that nowadays there are no increasing figures that can show that in 20 days the start of the third wave can take place.
“All the indicators are down, in ICU beds and in excess death figures. The only thing that remains fixed is the number of hospitalized, “he explained.
In the case of children up to 12 years of age, the impact of COVID does not represent even 0.5%.
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