QCOSTARICA – This Monday, July 12, Costa Rica reopens schools after the forced suspension of the school year due to the rebound in covid-19 cases.
Classes for 1.2 million students were interrupted since May 24 but will return from this week in face-to-face and distance mode in 5,359 educational centers under the responsibility of some 66,000 educators.
The interruption was used by the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) to advance in the vaccination of teachers in public and private schools, a process that began on May 31.
“We know how difficult this pandemic has been for parents and students, our fight has been to protect the health of families, accelerate vaccination, including that of teachers and protect education to the maximum.
“For this reason, we resumed the school year under the model that combines face-to-face and distance education to take care of all of us from covid-19, it is necessary to move forward in the school year,” said President Carlos Alvarado Quesada in a national network broadcast this Sunday, July 11.
Public education is one of the services most affected by the pandemic, since the previous year forced the complete suspension of face-to-face classes, which particularly affected minors without Internet access or without computer equipment.
Official estimates indicate that between 200,000 and 300,000 students in the public system do not have Internet connectivity to comply with the distance education model.
“Restarting classes on July 12 is to offer the possibility to children and adolescents to continue their learning, but also to benefit their physical and mental health,” said Giselle Cruz, Minister of Public Education.
In a press release, Cruz stressed that, with the strict application of health protocols, it is possible to be safe in schools and colleges.
“It has been shown with statistics that, even in times of a pandemic, educational centers continue to be safe and protective spaces for students,” she said.
The MEP assured that it will maintain the student lunch system in the scenarios provided so far: delivery of food packages, opening of the lunchroom for the dispatch of adjusted food packages and fully open lunch rooms.
The next food deliveries are scheduled for July 27-30 and August 3-6.
The MEP emphasized that the transportation service for students will remain “as it had been operating, which depends on the school hours, number of users, routes and other variables.”
Exception to restriction
On Friday, the government announced that taking and picking up students from school, both public and private, is exempt from the vehicular restrictions currently in place.
“We return to the classrooms with a reinforced educational leveling plan that will ensure, thanks to a computer tool, the monitoring of all students according to their work progress in each subject. We reorganized the school calendar to meet the 197 academic years ” added the Minister of Education.
Typically, the school year in Costa Rica starts in February and ends in December. This 2021, due to the interruption caused by the pandemic, the 2021 school year will end on January 19, 2022.
The 2022 school year is expected to start, as usual, in February.