Yucatan government announces that ”alternative” schools detected in private properties will be shut down

They will be closed for not having land use permits and contagion risks. Photo: (La jornada maya)

Merida Yucatan, (August 28, 2021).- As part of the protocol for the return to face-to-face classes in Yucatán, the state government prohibited the use of private homes to create “alternative” schools. 

If detected, the health authorities reported, they will be closed for not having permits for land use, civil protection, and because compliance with health protocols cannot be supervised. 

During a social event held on August 25, the representative director of Public Health of the Yucatan Health Secretariat (SSY), Carlos Isaac Hernández Fuentes, reported that they have had reports that these alternative schools have been popping up all over the state capital, where parents hire teachers to gather groups of children in private homes to take classes. 

“On the part of the Ministry of Health we do not recommend these practices, we will be very aware of the reports that society and the student community will be sending us,” he warned.

According to the official, these spaces put students and teachers at risk of becoming ill with Covid-19, in addition to not being officially registered before the SEP (Secretariat of Public Education), lacking the use of land for that purpose, and not paying the corresponding taxes. 

For his part, during an event held on August 26, Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal referred to these as “clandestine schools”, indicating that these buildings do not have land use permits, there are no civil protection protocols in the event of an accident, and health protocols cannot be verified. 

However, teachers and parents regretted this decision, as they indicate that these spaces are important, especially now due to the health emergency, for the reinforcement of students’ knowledge, as well as that they are a source of income for many people who have been unemployed by the crisis that caused the pandemic. 

A teacher, who preferred anonymity for fear of retaliation, indicated that she decided to give up a school where she taught, to give private classes in the homes of the families, teaching content according to the age of the children. 

Later, the mothers suggested her to open a space where she could continue with these courses, so she decided to adapt her home for this purpose. 

“The mothers are afraid to return to face-to-face classes, they tell me that one thing is for my son to interact with two or three children that they know are healthy, to do so with more than eight or ten children at school,” she commented. 

Therefore, she plans to continue with this project, despite the announcement of the state government, since she needs the economic income, in addition to having contemplated all the security measures. She would only give classes to groups of three children, she would have separate tables, they must use face masks on a mandatory basis, antibacterial gel, reduced hours, and if someone feels bad the class is suspended, among other actions. 

The psychologist also indicated that these counseling centers have existed for years, which are important for children to reinforce their knowledge, but she considered that this imposition is “to force all children to return to face-to-face classes when many disagree. It is a risk for children and teachers ”, she expressed. 

Omar Cocom Mayen, from Mérida, indicated that since August 2020, during the first year of the pandemic, he took his daughter to one of these spaces that a teacher enabled to care for preschool children, with small groups of four. 

For him, this was a good option because his little girl continued to learn to read and write, and they also had a space where she could stay with other children of her age. 

“These spaces are a good option because we do not want our children to return to schools with dozens of other kids for fear of contagion,” he said.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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