Ecuadorian students return to classrooms after two years of pandemic

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 15, 2022
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QUITO, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian students nationwide returned to classrooms on Monday following two years of lockdown sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a school in the capital Quito, Education Minister Maria Brown Perez officially announced the return to in-person classes of some 1.8 million students aged five to 18.

"It is a cause for great joy to have reached this point after a progressive process that began last year, in June. Being able to say that we are 100 percent back to face-to-face classes is an achievement for Ecuador," Brown told reporters.

Last June, the country launched a pilot program for the progressive and voluntary return to classrooms after more than a year of remote learning, which led to negative consequences such as learning loss and mental health problems.

While schools are now allowed to operate at full capacity, biosafety protocols such as wearing a face mask remain.

The return to the classroom comes after the country achieved high vaccination levels against COVID-19, with 85 percent of the target population aged five and older, or more than 13.6 million people, fully vaccinated.

"I am very happy to return to my school, to see my friends and to be taught in my classroom. At home, the computer tired me, I did not understand very well, and I was distracted by what was around me, my little sister, the television, the toys," said Gabriel Velez, a third-grade student.

The return to school has also been a relief to parents. "It gives me peace of mind and joy to leave them at school to be with children their age," Maria Lopez, a public-sector employee and mother of two, told Xinhua.

"The pandemic caused stress for everyone in the family, a reorganization of roles, and remote working doubled the housework at home," she added. Enditem

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