Local January 5, 2022 | 2:55 pm

Teachers from Puerto Rico propose to start the next semester virtually


 The Broad Front in Defense of Public Education (FADEP), made up of several teachers’ unions in Puerto Rico, reported this Tuesday that it proposed January 18 as the start date of classes for the next semester, but virtually, before the rebound in covid-19 cases on the island.

This was one of several proposals that the unions Unete, Educators, and the Federation of Teachers of Puerto Rico (FMPR) -components of the FADEP- presented on Monday to the Secretary of Education, Eliezer Ramos, as a measure to alleviate infections in schools by the omicron variant.

“We all know the high number of children who are becoming infected, which makes it necessary to start classes virtually,” Unete president Liza Fournier said in a press release.

Fournier also proposed that teachers return to schools between January 10 and 14 to evaluate the experience of the protocols implemented in the past, temper them to reality, and designate health and safety strategies to work with the new challenges it represents.

The return of the educators on these dates would be to complete teaching tasks, participate in virtual meetings with the epidemiologists of each municipality, faculty meetings, virtual sending of notes to managers, and virtual assemblies of parents.

Meanwhile, as proposed by the president of Educamos, Migdalia Santiago, the return to classes on January 18 should be with the teachers from their classroom, with exceptions due to compromised health issues of teachers and family members and teachers without childcare.

“We suggest that the students start from home during this time and on January 28 the health situation be re-evaluated,” she said.

“This measure is necessary so that 50% of teachers can complete their third booster dose and so that students from 5 to 12 years old who have not completed the required vaccines can do so,” emphasized Santiago.

According to Ramos, the union leader also said that 104,218 students between the ages of 5 and 11 have already been vaccinated, which represents about 50% of those vaccinated.

“Therefore, the date of January 31 for all students to complete their vaccinations is not real,” lamented Santiago.

“Teachers, managers and students prefer face-to-face classes, but only when it is safe and the conditions of family and community contagion do not affect the schools,” she said.

As of this Tuesday, as detailed by the local Health Department in its statistics portal, 90.2% of people eligible to receive vaccines (5 years or more) in Puerto Rico have already received at least one dose.

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