COVID-19: Mexico to close schools for a month over coronavirus concerns

The measure seeks to protect approximately 33 million students in Mexico

COVID-19: Mexico to close schools for a month over coronavirus concerns
Classes will be suspended for a month – Photo: Yadín Xolalpa/EL UNIVERSAL
English 14/03/2020 14:47 Mexico City Alexis Ortiz, Karla Linares &Teresa Moreno Actualizada 12:36
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Mexico’s Education Ministry (SEP) informed that classes will be suspended at schools between March 20 and April 20 as a measure to prevent coronavirus infections in the country.

In a news conference, the Education ministry Esteban Barragán Moctezuma informed that this measure seeks to protect children and asserted that all the population must follow the suggestions to prevent infections.

Moctezuma Barragán added that in this 30-day period, which includes the Holy Week, there will be a long-distance education system and authorities will analyze the way for this suspension to affect the least the school term.

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The meeting was also attended by the deputy minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell, the deputy minister of Education, and all the state ministers of Education, except for the one from Baja California Sur, Héctor Jiménez.

Education authorities mentioned that the measure will affect a total of 33 million students throughout the country, including all elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, and universities affiliated to the national education system. Teachers will continue collaborating in schools and will receive further information on their role during this measure on March 23.

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Until the night of March 14, Mexico’s Health Ministry had confirmed 26 COVID-19 cases in the country and reported 105 suspected cases.

In addition, the SEP established 8 preventive measures to face the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico:

  1. There will be a Health Commission in every single school in the country.
  2. There will be a new filter, school-parent responsible, so as to show daily having followed the Health Ministry’s
  3. Parents must deliver a signed paper where they state that their children washed their hands and have no symptoms like coughing or headache. At schools and in each classroom, there will be a basic school filter; there must be health and cleaning materials.
  4. All non-essential activities, civic events, and sports activities are suspended in every school.
  5. Holy week holidays will take place from March 20 to April 20.
  6. Preventive isolation is recommended so as to prevent proximity between the population. Likewise, people must follow basic recommendations like no hand greetings and frequently cleaning your hands even when at home.
  7. A long-distance education system will be established to keep students busy.
  8. School authorities must keep in touch with the Health state committee so as to be coordinated

On March 16, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) announced that it would gradually suspend classes starting March 17 on its different campi due to coronavirus.

“With the objective of protecting our community and of reducing the impact of this situation in the substantive tasks of our university, it has been decided that since tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, the gradual and orderly suspension of classes in our different campi, so that next weekend, all classes are suspended.”

For their part, on March 16 and 17, correspondingly, the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) joined the measure of closing schools over coronavirus concerns.

Likewise, private universities such as La Salle, Iberoamericana, ITAM, and Tec de Monterrey have closed their schools and to prevent COVID-19 spread.

On March 30, the Public Education Minister Esteban Moctezuma followed the measures of the General Health Council and extended the closing of schools until April 30 so as to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

“The education sector, in favor of everyone’s health, follows this determination by extending the preventive isolation of the school recess until April 30,” said Moctezuma.

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