The 2020-2021 school year, underway in almost all of Cuba since the beginning of November, will begin in Havana on December 7, confirmed the deputy director general of education of the Cuban capital.
José Ángel Ordaz said to the Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) news agency that Havana province is “ready to assume the beginning of the school year” amid the current epidemiological context due to COVID-19 and explained that in order for Havana to catch up with the rest of the country “it was necessary to make some adjustments, but this does not imply the omission of any of the fundamental objectives of the subjects in each grade.”
The official said that “the programming of spaces for review and consolidation, and for the introduction of content, which after a thorough review were concentrated in certain units, was taken into account” and detailed that “pre-school, primary and special education will remain full time in schools, while for junior and senior high and technical professional training, including pedagogy, schedules will be readjusted in order to avoid overcrowding.”
He affirmed that the start of the school day was “made more flexible,” with classes beginning at 8:30 a.m., and commented that “in many cases, due to the conditions and capacities of the classrooms, it was necessary to divide the enrollment into subgroups in order to respect the physical distancing contemplated in the health protocols.”
According to Ordaz, in order to complete the coverage for teachers, the support of librarians, psychologists, psychopedagogy specialists and education assistants who are studying for their bachelor’s degree will be appealed, while in the schools emphasis was placed on hygienic-sanitary measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
Among these, he cited the enabling of “the location at each access point of a teacher responsible for applying chlorinated solutions and verifying the use of the mats to sanitize shoes, as well as determining by observation the existence of symptoms that could suggest SARS-CoV-2 in children.”
As well as that students must carry up to four face masks, which must be changed coinciding with the snack and lunch schedule, fundamentally. And “the number of washstands was increased and the water supply improved in all educational institutions to guarantee the sanitation of students and teachers,” although he acknowledged that “work is still underway in some centers that still use the tank-cistern service.”
Havana restarted the 2019-2020 school year on November 2, interrupted by the pandemic and that could not be resumed in September due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the capital. In total, more than 300,000 Havana students returned to class that day, on the same date that most Cuban provinces began the new school year.