Sunday, Oct 17, 2021

Pediatricians affirm that the return to the classroom is "urgent" in Panama

Pediatricians affirm that the return to the classroom is "urgent" in Panama

"The return to face-to-face classes is essential for the educational and social development of children and adolescents," said the Panamanian Society of Pediatrics.
The Panamanian Society of Pediatrics called Tuesday the start of face-to-face classes in the country "urgent", where schools were closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, always complying with biosecurity measures.

"The return to face-to-face classes is essential for the educational and social development of children and adolescents. We call on the population to overcome fear and facilitate a safe return to schools by following all biosecurity measures," said the union it's a statement.

The Government of Panama closed schools in March 2020, less than two weeks after the start of the school year due to the outbreak of the pandemic, and classes have been taught remotely, using the internet where the service exists.

UNICEF, which last March said that Panama was the country in the world with the highest number of days without face-to-face or blended education, has urged that face-to-face classes be resumed gradually, starting in places where students do not have connectivity and where indicators of the pandemic allow it.

According to official data now, when there are days until the end of the second of the three quarters of the school year, there are 455 schools, of the more than 3,900 that the country has, that teach blended classes, a modality that in the public sector It started on May 31 last.

In this context, the Ministry of Education ordered last week that teachers begin to coordinate their return to schools so that in the third quarter more educational centers teach blended classes. He argued that 800 schools have requested this after complying with the biosafety adjustments.

On Tuesday, public sector teachers protested against the government's order to join blended classes, arguing that schools lack what is necessary to guarantee biosecurity amid the pandemic.

Pediatricians on Tuesday urged teachers, school administrators and students who have not yet been vaccinated to do so, recalling that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved Pfizer's covid-19 preparation for people 16 years of age and older.

"The population can be sure that the vaccine against covid-19 meets the high standards of safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality that the FDA requires in an approved product," added the doctors.

In Panama, a country of 4.28 million inhabitants that accumulates 453,466 cases and 7,018 deaths from covid-19, 4,073,049 doses of vaccine have been administered, the vast majority from Pfizer, the country's main supplier.

The issue of face-to-face education divides Panamanian society. A group of parents demands that they return to the classroom and accuse the public sector teachers of being lazy and profiteer, since they have never stopped receiving their salary in the midst of the crisis, as has happened to many families, and they were among the first to be vaccinated against covid-19.

Another group of parents endorse the fears of teacher leaders and refuse to send their children to school. Thus, there are schools in which a very small group of children attend blended classes and the vast majority remain at home receiving distance education.


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