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In some provinces, such as La Pampa, there were face-to-face classes taught partially.

Since the end of last year, the City Government set the date of return to face-to-face classes for February 17. The decision seems to be immovable, despite the resistance of the teaching unions due to the rise in coronavirus infections throughout the country. Today, The Buenos Aires Ministry of Education will meet again with the leaders of the sector to discuss the conditions of return to classrooms, while the tension between the protagonists grows. The substantive discussion is, once again, how to balance health conditions and educational needs, after a year of deficit in teaching school content due to access difficulties in remote education.

The convocation It will take place at 10.30 am at the headquarters of the educational portfolio in the 31 neighborhood of Retiro. Minister Soledad Acuña summoned the union representatives separately, which has already generated suspicions in the union part, which is used to sitting down to negotiate in a unified way with the authorities. Teachers’ organizations demand that the sanitary security conditions be guaranteed against the coronavirus, which implies a demand for infrastructure reforms. As announced, specialists and NGOs will also join the meeting, along with representatives of families and students.

“For us, education is a top priority, both to make up face-to-face classes and a few weeks in the summer to start earlier. We are trying to start on February 17 with the greatest possible presence. We have the schools prepared, we have the protocols, we have analyzed how the issue was worked on in the world, “said the head of the Buenos Aires government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, after his reappearance in public upon receiving medical discharge for coronavirus. Spokesmen for the Buenos Aires Ministry of Education headed by Soledad Acuña indicated that they guarantee “100% of the boys in schools.

Although the own Horacio Rodríguez Larreta insisted on several occasions that a kind of school “normality” be resumed during 2021, former president Mauricio Macri yesterday got involved in the fight with the teachers’ unions and the national government, when he spoke in favor of the claim that “open the schools”. “Everything is allowed, except the entrance of the boys to the classrooms”, Sentenced the PRO leader. During the past year, President Alberto Fernández prioritized remote education to reduce the movement of people – and thus limit the spread of the pandemic – although there was also resistance from the unions to any suggestion about an early return of face-to-face classes.

Let us not let the debate on education continue to be monopolized by the union leaders who during the four years of our government have left children without classes for ‘struggles’ that now seemed to abandon. In recent times they have become spokespersons for the government’s excuses and have not been able to hide that their political interests are what guide their actions and are above the needs of teachers and the right to learn of children ” Mauricio Macri pointed out in his public statements.

Last year the Buenos Aires government authorized the realization of "school bubbles", as a method of re-linking students to schools. (Maximiliano Luna)

Last year the government of Buenos Aires enabled the realization of “school bubbles”, as a method of re-linking students to schools. (Maximiliano Luna)

The official intention of the Buenos Aires government and the opinion of the former president rekindled the differences at least with the teacher unions with the largest number of members, such as UTE and Ademys, which will bring to the meeting complaints about school infrastructure, delays in their salaries and concern about the coronavirus infections. The general secretary of UTE-CTERA, Angelica Graciano recalled that the country “a very critical health situation”Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and insisted that the feasibility of being present must be agreed.

“Classes can begin on February 17, what we do not know is if there will be presence. What is under discussion is whether there are sanitary conditions and infrastructure and materials to do some kind of presence, “said Graciano yesterday in radio statements. And he lashed out: “There is no serious or responsible or planning approach, there is nothing, there are only marketing ads since December and since the beginning of this year they have proposed this type of slogan, but there is no planning work that involves the actors of the educational system ”.

Mariana Scayola, general secretary of the Ademys union, also ruled that his accompaniment to the return of classes will depend on the health situation at that time ”. “Last year we rejected the return to face-to-face with a number of cases similar to what there is now,” he said. “On the one hand it was rejected the bubble process that had been raised, but there are also issues such as the claim for more staff, plus cleaning assistants to condition the classrooms and ensure adequate ventilation in overcrowded classes”He added.

As in any beginning of the year, the teachers’ unions also propose that, in parallel, advance with a joint agreement. “To think about a return to school you have to discuss salaries, since in 2020 we are 15 points below inflation and it is a process that has been going on for years. We ask for a salary recovery in which salary is linked to inflation and we do not have to see how we get to the end of the month, “he concluded.

(Maximiliano Luna)

(Maximiliano Luna)

Along these lines, Scayola warned the agency Telam that the vaccination campaign will not take place on time either. “It is unlikely that everyone can be vaccinated between here and February 17,” he said. “The teachers will introduce ourselves on February 8, that week we will hold assemblies and see the steps to follow”, Anticipated the union representative.

While the pressure for the presence of the classes grows, the Minister of Education of the Nation, Nicolas Trotta, confirmed this week that each province will determine the date and modality of the return to the classrooms and asked not to politicize the educational discussion. “It is a challenge facing the whole of society and for this, the entire educational community is working together. To disqualify teachers once again is to show contempt for those who bring educational policies to the classroom ”, he concluded.

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