The Education Ministry (SEP) has set August 30 as the date for children to return to school for in-person classes.
President López Obrador has argued strongly for in-person education, saying that children should no longer be “subject to their nintendos.” On a number of occasions, he has said that Mexico is one of the countries that has kept its schools’ doors closed for longest — 17 months, second only to Bangladesh.
At the morning news conference Thursday, Education Minister Delfina Gómez also stressed the mental and physical importance of school for children, and set out a 10-point framework to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and ensure a safe learning environment.
The policies to be followed in schools nationwide are:
- The formation of health committees including parents, teachers and other education authorities
- The establishment of “health filters” at home and at school to detect symptoms of Covid-19
- For children to clean their hands with water, soap and/or antibacterial gel
- For everyone in the school to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth at all times
- For everyone in the school to maintain a safe distance from one another
- Increasing the use of outdoor spaces at school
- The avoidance of assemblies or meetings
- For anyone that sees signs of Covid-19 symptoms to make it known immediately
- To register for the ministry’s online courses for social and emotional support at: climss.imss.gob.mx under “Retorno Seguro”
- For children to take a formal letter to school with emergency contact numbers and an assurance that the child has no symptoms
However, the announcement has not been universally well received. The Education Ministry in Michoacán released a statement to say that children in the state would not be returning to classes on August 30, and would continue with long distance learning.
Before children can return, authorities have work to do. Alongside the announcement of the 10-point framework, Gómez said that 10,000 of the country’s 265,000 schools had been vandalized since the start of the pandemic.