The return to in-person classes must take place and cannot be postponed, says the Tico Ministry of Education. Although the cases of COVID-19 in the country do not diminish, one of the main reasons is that the 2021 school year cannot be 100% online, since 30% of TIco students lack Internet. That is why as of February 8th, the in-person and distance lessons will coexist.
In addition, the main issue to return to the classroom is the need to address the lag in the content of educational programs that affects the entire student population of the country. This delay is not only a product of the suspension of lessons due to the Pandemic; But because in 2018, 89 days of classes were lost, that is, 48% of the school year due to a strike against the tax plan.
With the end of the movement, remedial plans were proposed for 2019; however, another strike in that year (this time against the FARO tests, dual education and that ended with the departure of Édgar Mora) the number of days lost culminated in 104, in both years.
In 2020, with the COVID-19 Pandemic, education focused on priority learning through distance education, so it is estimated that half of the content has been left out. Another reason for not delaying the return to the classroom is that the suspension of the course has caused the loss of social interaction between students and teachers.
This could translate into socio-emotional difficulties that not only affect their school performance, but also their future possibilities for social relationships and eventually, it could cause damage to the mental health of children and young people, warned Guiselle Cruz, Minister of Education.
Order of return
The first levels to return will be preschool, then first through sixth year of primary, and finally tenth, eleventh of secondary, and eleventh and twelfth of technical education. Orange alert zones will continue in remote mode; so will those educational centers in which there is no possibility of applying social distancing or that do not have drinking water, as is currently the case in 36 educational centers.
Educators should be vaccinated
On the other hand, some unions have conditioned the return to the classrooms by requesting that teachers be vaccinated against COVID-19 previously, a situation that they will present to the National Vaccination Commission. For the moment, they were told to wait their turn in Group 4, and that the doses will be applied earlier to those who are over 58 years old and who have a risk disease. Those teachers who present a medical condition in which a specialist recommends teleworking they may postpone the return to in-person mode.