Education in pandemics involves unprecedented challenges for educational policy. Which can be organized into three stages.
Most of the Argentine schools at the time of this publication are still going through the first: education in times of social isolation. In it, the policies focus on deploying an emergency strategy so that students and teachers can continue the pedagogical process from their homes before the closure of schools. At the national level, the passage to a new instance for those areas in which there is no community circulation of the virus is beginning to be discussed.
The second stage will consist of a gradual return to school. Which abandons the premise of isolation and is governed by the premise of social distancing. This will be characterized by the gradual return of different groups of students. The social distancing measures are guided by strict safety and hygiene protocols. The alternation between days at school and at home, and intermittence. As possible outbreaks of the virus. they can lead to new school closure.
The passage and characteristics of the third stage, education in a new normal, are uncertain. It is estimated that it will occur when the health emergency is overcome. And school attendance can be permanently resumed.
Provincial responses to COVID-19
After three months of education in pandemics in social isolation, the national government and the provinces have deployed a great variety. The initiatives to sustain pedagogical continuity from homes. This document analyzes the responses of the 24 provinces. Organizing them into six priority intervention focuses :
- Guarantee access to pedagogical content
- Expand digital infrastructure
- Accompany and strengthen the capacities of teachers in the use of ICT for remote teaching and reflection on pedagogy in times of exceptionalism
- Accompany families with materials and remote assistance channels
- Guarantee the continuity of the school canteen service
- Adapt the school organization by promoting changes in the evaluation and promotion systems, and developing protocols for the eventual return to school.
Towards an education in pandemics with social distancing
The challenges facing the return to the classroom and entering the stage of education. Social distancing is multiple. The policy strategy for the reopening of schools should be based on -at least- four pillars :
- Guarantee sanitary conditions to ensure social distancing in educational establishments based on the reorganization of school space and time
- Generate the conditions for pedagogical continuity in hybrid models. Which face-to-face assistance is only partial. By expanding access to connectivity and digital devices. And developing the capacities of teachers to make pedagogical use of these technologies.
- Restoring the right to education and accompanying students with higher educational risk. Based on nominalized systems for the identification and monitoring of weakened school trajectories 4.
- Protect and increase educational financing and improve the efficiency of the educational budget. In the context of the downturn in economic activity and consequent decrease in resources.
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