A clear majority of students are ready to ditch their electronic devices, dust off their textbooks and return to the classroom, a new survey indicates.
Among almost 38,000 primary, middle and high school students across Mexico surveyed by the Mexico City Human Rights Commission (CDHCM), seven out of 10 want to return to in-person classes. Only two out of 10 said they would prefer to continue studying at home while one in 10 was unsure about his or her preference.
Schools across Mexico closed in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and most haven’t reopened since. However, after almost 1 1/2 years of online and television learning, students will have the option to voluntarily return to the classroom for the start of the new school year on August 30.
The CDHCM survey – the results of which were presented by commission president Nashieli Ramírez Hernández at President López Obrador’s morning press conference on Thursday – asked students what made them happy about the upcoming, albeit voluntary, return to in-person classes.
Almost half of those polled – 48% – cited the opportunity to be with friends, while 37% said that it was easier to understand what they were being taught in the classroom. More than one in five showed signs of cabin fever, saying they would be happy to return to school just to get out of the house.
López Obrador has been a fierce advocate for the forthcoming return to the classroom, particularly stressing the importance of social interaction between students. In-person classes will recommence in August regardless of “rain, thunder or lightning,” he said in late July, using one of his oft-repeated catchphrases.
While most students are keen to once again sit in the classroom with their peers, the return to school is far from an anxiety-free proposition.
The CDHCM survey found that half of respondents are worried that their fellow school-goers won’t wear face masks, while 25% said they feared they would catch the virus at school and get sick. Almost one in five students said they were anxious about not being able to give their friends a hug, while almost three in 10 feared that their schools would close again if an outbreak occurs, sending them back to lonely learning at home.
Ramírez said that listening to students’ views about a government decision that directly affects them, and taking them into account, was an “obligation of families, society and the state.”
She noted that a previous CDHCM survey found that almost 60% of students thought the closure of schools would last just two months or a little more. But the closure dragged on and on as Mexico endured one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. For an eight-year-old student, the duration of the closure represents about 20% of his or her life, Ramírez remarked.
The government’s decision to forge ahead with its decision to reopen schools comes as Mexico records soaring coronavirus case numbers as a delta-variant-fueled third wave of the pandemic gains a foothold across much of the country.
Students have protested against the resumption of classes before children are unvaccinated, while parents, teachers, states and schools are divided over the August 30 reopening of thousands of schools.
Mexico News Daily