Publisher’s note: We invite you to stay well informed during this emergency. Free access to all the news and updates related to the passing of the hurricane fiona for Puerto Rico. Thank you for supporting responsible journalism. Sign up today.
As soon as tomorrow, Thursday, 88 public schools in the regions of San Juan, Humacao, Bayamón, Arecibo and Mayagüez will restart their calendar of face-to-face classes for students, confirmed the Secretary of Education, Eliezer Ramos Parés.
“It is not the biggest number in the world, but we want to start. We have been careful in this analysis and we have excluded municipalities that are still practically attending to the emergency, facing recovery or the issue of accessibility,” the secretary said in an interview with The new day.
Earlier, the headline had anticipated that the agency would evaluate this Wednesday the return to face-to-face classes in 149 schools, after the impact of the hurricane fiona in Puerto Rico, and that classes would restart in the schools that were ready.
“The entire staff was called to make a thorough inspection, obtain details and this afternoon make decisions about whether those 149 schools can and are able to open tomorrow and start receiving students,” stressed earlier.
Of those 149 that were evaluated, Ramos Parés acknowledged that “there is a large number that do not have electricity service.” The current total of schools in the public system is 860 schools, so the 88 that will restart classes tomorrow represent 10%. At the time of this edition, the agency had not provided the list of those campuses.
The minister said that the school calendar will not be affected in those 88 schools, but he did not rule out that there are schools in which there could be changes in terms of the end date of the semester, depending on when they resume their school activities, to ensure that the entire curriculum is covered. The schools will open, “to the extent that we make progress with the issue of water, electricity and accessibility, and that our children lose as little time as possible of school time.”
The secretary reiterated that the establishment of electricity and drinking water services in the schools are key elements to determine whether or not there will be classes.
“We don’t want there to be no hygiene, no water, no light. We know that high temperatures are also affecting some municipalities, we are considering all these elements. Likewise, the capacity that this community has to start receiving students,” Ramos Parés said.
In the areas mainly affected by the hurricane, there are also schools that are still used as shelters and others that were affected by the floods, but “there are very few,” he said. Education will identify an alternate plan for those schools, so that the school community can resume work and classes, while the status of those schools is evaluated and addressed.
The secretary indicated that the impact is evaluated by municipality to then call the staff to the schools and carry out the inspection in the schools. The staff of none of the schools in the Ponce and Mayagüez regions – with the exception of two that will restart classes tomorrow – have been summoned.
“We have called for empathy, all supervisors and all managers to take into consideration the individual conditions of our staff and also of the families we have to serve,” he said. “My goal is that in a week the system is already stabilized,” she stressed.