Cuba’s Minister of Education Says Vaccines Will Not be Mandatory to Attend Classes

More than 70,000 children and adolescents have been infected with the coronavirus in Cuba. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 13 October 2021 — Cuba has resumed the 2020-2021 school year with the progressive reincorporation of students in classrooms depending on the mass vaccination process against covid-19 and with the priority of hygienic-sanitary measures, said the Minister of Education, Ena Elsa Velázquez on Wednesday. The official also said at a press conference that it will not be mandatory to get vaccinated to attend classes.

On November 15, more than 1.6 million students will attend school to close the 2020-2021 school year, and will then start the next year in March 2022, after modifying some aspects of the curriculum.

The minister pointed out that compliance “with all the rigor” of sanitary measures in educational centers is maintained to avoid covid events, such as the mandatory use of a mask, social distancing, frequent hand washing and the use of disinfectants.

The completion of the three-dose schedule with the Cuban vaccines Soberana 02, Abdala and Soberana Plus has been the previous step for the staggered resumption of the 2020-2021 school year in person since October 4, explained Velázquez.

He also indicated that the family decides whether the child is vaccinated or not and clarified that even without being immunized they have the opportunity to attend classes, but in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 they will remain in isolation.

On October 4, more than 84,500 students in the last year of high school, pedagogical teaching and professional technique, rejoined educational institutions after spending several months receiving teleclasses.

The 2020-2021 academic year was restarted gradually and in person in all the country’s provinces, except in Pinar del Río, Sancti Spíritus, Las Tunas and the Camagüey municipality of Santa Cruz del Sur, due to the complex epidemiological situation in those zones.

A year earlier, classes had been resumed in person in almost all the provinces but they were suspended a few months later due to the rise in positive cases of covid-19 in the country, so teleclasses were returned to.

The Ministry of Education then developed a teaching program through television that has generated complaints, disagreements from relatives and even sanctions from the authorities. In Santiago de Cuba, a fine of up to 2,500 pesos had to be faced by the parents of students who did not transcribe the content of the teleclasses.

The Education authorities have communicated that they have the aspiration to return to a regular school period from September to July, complete and in person, for the 2023-2024 academic year.

More than 70,000 children and adolescents have been infected with the coronavirus in Cuba since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, according to the island’s health authorities.


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