Students, teachers prepare to return to classrooms

antipodean

Registered
There appear to be far more robust protocols in place than most companies who are already fully or partially “back in the office”, as well as restaurants or shopping venues.

Given the poor levels of internet access and access to day care faced by the majority of Argentines (the 40+% living in poverty plus the lower echelons of the remaining %) a year without presencial learning is damaging in the long run. Not to mention the mental health aspect with so many family units living in cramped quarters.
 

semigoodlookin

Registered
Everything has to be done to get schools back. I have two teens and both have been severly impacted emotionally by not being able to attend school. Also, from the general feeling I get from their friends and social groups, they are very much not alone. Kids are emotionally not well during this time and need each other as much as they need their parents.
 

FrankPintor

Registered
I think the right to life trumps the right to go to school every time. From the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: "No evidence has been found to suggest that children or educational settings are the primary drivers of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission. However, research has shown that children can become infected, and can spread the virus to other children and adults while they are infectious". (https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/covid-19/questions-answers/questions-answers-school-transmission). There are more articles out there, including this one at https://www.bbc.com/news/health-54937486 which says that children are more likely to be infected in a second wave.

There's no question that schools should reopen as soon as possible, however it's not possible to do it safely yet. Argentina should wait until vaccines are more widely rolled out, and at least teachers are vaccinated. Then parents who want to send children to school can do it at their own risk.

Unfortunately the opposition in Argentina has glommed onto this topic and weaponized it to attack the government. Macri and COVID-Patty (*) are in the news (well, La Nacion) every 8 hours or so fulminating about this. I wonder if COVID-Patty will stand up and accept responsibility for the deaths that will come out of this?

And yes, I'm worried about this because my partner is a teacher. She, and all of her colleagues, are almost desperate to get back to work, the problem is that it's simply unsafe, and can't be made safe in many cases (particularly working with kindergarden age kids, primary schools, etc).

* COVID-Patty: Patricia Bullrich, the opposition dog-whistle with legs who claims she got infected with COVID while out shopping, but that having kids in classrooms poses no risk. Logic isn't her strong suit.
 

antipodean

Registered
Argentina has not had kids in school for a year, yet in terms of cases and fatalities per 100,000 is still one of the worst performing countries in the world.

Where is the logic in saying that something that, according to the CDC, has no scientific evidence to suggest is a “primary driver” of transmission will make that fact much worse? Adults can spread and can get infected at a supermarket - should we close these too?

One either needs to advocate for a full and total lockdown where no activity that allows humans to share air is permitted - afterall doctors, nurses, waiters and checkout operators have an equal right to life as teachers or any other professional or loved one - or otherwise accept that a small percentage of those infected with this or any other illness will die. With that grim reality comes a duty to focus on mitigating this risk through aggressive protocols and enforcement of those protocols.

In saying that, individuals (including teachers) who are at risk or have a higher degree of fear for whom these protocols may be insufficient for should also have the right to shut themselves away completely for the duration of the pandemic (no cherry picking in their activities allowed) but they can not expect to drag everyone else who do not run the same risks down the same path with them.
 

FrankPintor

Registered
You go on and on about how Argentina is one of the worst performing countries in the world (it's your major contribution to the COVID threads), so yes, I get that you're happy to see it get worse. Let me go through the list of occupations you mention (I wasn't able to parse your second paragraph, sorry)
  • Doctors and nurses use (or should be using) protective clothing and equipment.
  • Waiters have short interactions with customers, and are generally working outdoors at the moment.
  • Checkout operators are behind perspex shields in all the supermarkets I've been in.
Teachers will generally not have PPE, will mostly be in not very well ventilated classrooms having all-day interaction with groups of 10-15 kids, and not from behind perspex shields either. Your comparisons fail.

BTW, the kids, depending on their ages, will not be wearing masks (or wearing them like the kid in the photo here: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/schools-in-argentina-finally-re-open-doors-for-students.phtml). So much for protocols in schools...
 

Alpinista

Registered
There's no question that schools should reopen as soon as possible, however it's not possible to do it safely yet. Argentina should wait until vaccines are more widely rolled out, and at least teachers are vaccinated. Then parents who want to send children to school can do it at their own risk.
In the current situation where vaccines are barely coming into the country, with the autumn / winter looming, it could even be that these conditions are not met until late 2021. Is it really an option to have no school for two years? It would even be disastrous from a social point of view (children can't stay forever stay at home). I would say that probably more than half of the children do not even have the technical infrastructure (room, internet, hardware) and / or support from home which is necessary to learn something from home. I believe a lot of them are already lost now after one year, forget about it when they are not in school for two years.
So before you open restaurants, bars, casinos etc the school should be one of the first things to open in my view.
 

antipodean

Registered
You go on and on about how Argentina is one of the worst performing countries in the world (it's your major contribution to the COVID threads), so yes, I get that you're happy to see it get worse. Let me go through the list of occupations you mention (I wasn't able to parse your second paragraph, sorry)
  • Doctors and nurses use (or should be using) protective clothing and equipment.
  • Waiters have short interactions with customers, and are generally working outdoors at the moment.
  • Checkout operators are behind perspex shields in all the supermarkets I've been in.
Teachers will generally not have PPE, will mostly be in not very well ventilated classrooms having all-day interaction with groups of 10-15 kids, and not from behind perspex shields either. Your comparisons fail.

BTW, the kids, depending on their ages, will not be wearing masks (or wearing them like the kid in the photo here: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/schools-in-argentina-finally-re-open-doors-for-students.phtml). So much for protocols in schools...
  • Doctors and nurses rarely wear more than a mask. Not sure if you have been to a hospital, GP or dentist since the start of the pandemic? For example:
    • In Sanatorio Mater Dei even the general doctors, nurses, nuns and receptionists are just walking around wearing simple surgical masks while dentists wear what they always have.
    • At the GP office or hospital consultorio the doctor sits opposite you wearing a surgical mask. No perspex in between - nada.
    • Often these people work in poorly ventilated environments where the only air circulation is A/C - such as a basement hospital lab open to the public with a waiting room attached (in a hospital that accommodates with COVID cases...)
  • Waiters work 5-8 hour shifts with hundreds of anonymous people every day and have no way of ever knowing if they have been exposed or not. Let alone other diners who have been less than 2 meters away from groups of other people for 20-60 minutes or more. This includes interior spaces with A/C which are from my observation just about as popular as outdoor areas. The amount of people inside a class-room sized restaurant while not wearing masks and talking loudly can easily surpass 20.
  • Checkout operators in Dia breath the same air that gets circulated by A/C despite those perspex shields as all of those anonymous shoppers, plus handling items touched by others countless times a day.
  • Entry to hospitals, restaurants and (big) supermarkets usually comes with a temperature check and basic social distancing arrangements but little else to support contact tracing in case it is needed.
  • Most of these workers need to use crowded public transport to get to work (which have less protocols than a school bus that requires the temperature of each passenger to be taken before boarding.)
How exactly do the comparisons fail? I understand in schools the protocols include "isolating" students into bubbles so if one gets sick, all contacts can be traced and put into precautionary isolation. That's already arguable more valuable than what most of the above groups get.


THE PROTOCOL

It is implemented according to the reality of each school. The use of face masks and taking the temperature when entering are common measures to all. It is a detailed protocol with guidelines to guarantee careful presence, such as:
  • The entrance to the schools will be done in a staggered manner, every 10 minutes.
  • The bubbles will be the grade, room, course or year.
  • The social distance will be at least 1.5 meters and for that the furniture was redistributed.
  • Upon entering, all the kids' temperature will be taken and their hands will be cleaned with alcohol gel.
  • The mask will be mandatory from five onwards and acetate masks will be given to teachers.
  • Air renewal is key. Therefore, the doors and windows will be kept open.
  • There will be breaks, but without contact between the different bubbles. They can be staggered or in different spaces.
  • Some activities, such as physical education and music classes, will have their specific protocol.
  • Major events, including the start of classes, are suspended for the moment.
As for Argentina failing in the rankings, some people may prefer to pretend they live in a safe and well organised little bubble here in Argentina where one can just trust the government to keep them safe with drastic and dramatic acts. But that is just not true. The numbers speak for themselves despite all the political blah blah blah and blame games we have endured to get to this point. Yet some still need reminding.
 
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