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Thursday, Apr 22, 2021
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Autoridades de Panamá abogan por un retorno seguro y gradual a las aulas de clases

Government suggests reopening schools in townships with low COVID-19 cases

The National Government, through the Ministry of Education (Meduca), continues to advocate to reopen official and private schools, in those townships with a low incidence of COVID-19 infections.
The Minister Minister of Public Health of Panama Eyra Ruiz said “we can go reopening the schools, since the children need to return, the teachers need to be present ... the Meduca, the schools are ready to be able to receive the children and the young in these low-incidence townships."

Ruiz made it clear that the return to face-to-face or blended classes is within the protocol that the Ministry of Health and Meduca have designed, since if there is a district with a high incidence of cases, it is preferable for these students to continue with distance classes.

"The truth is that parents do want their children to return to schools, but within the framework of security where they feel calm, they will have the appropriate measures," said the Minister of Public Health.

Regarding the mobility of students to educational centers, Ruiz announced that the Metro Bus Company Management plans to increase the number of fleet to have accessible buses in order to avoid crowds in transport units "all this is being viewed as strategies combined among many institutions.”

Meanwhile, epidemiologist Arturo Rebollón argued that opening schools locally can be safe, based on data.

"In the province of Panama of the 25 worst townships, 16 can open at maximum capacity, as the data say, and 9 in hybrid capacity," said Rebollón.

He added that the country is recommending gradual and voluntary opening, "it is time to open schools."

The national director of Environmental Education, Carmen Aparicio explained that Meduca has 825 educational centers that have up to 25 students and have monitored these schools vs. the township where they are located, and the level of contagion.

Among the findings, he said that almost all those educational centers that have that number of students are located in townships where there is no presence of COVID-19 for many months or never was.

On March 22, Meduca reported that educational centers in Herrera and Los Santos receive tutorial classes from their teachers after maintaining zero COVID-19 infections in communities where they reside and which have low enrollment.
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