In-Person Classes and Youth Vaccination Successfully Begin in Venezuela (Video & Photos)

As planned by Venezuelan authorities, this Monday, October 25, in-person classes and youth vaccination began for the 2021-2022 academic schedule at all academic levels.

The Executive Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, and the Minister for Education, Yelitze Santaella, visited the Alberto Müller Rojas educational institution in Caracas to monitor compliance by children and teachers with the COVID-19 health protocols on the first day of classes.

The resumption of face-to-face classes will be supervised with strict epidemiological monitoring in order to avoid contagion. The option of suspending classes remains open if necessary, to avoid or contain spikes.

After a year and a half without in-person classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students from all over the country rose early this Monday to meet up with their classmates, teachers and professors, for whom they waited punctually in educational centers, all within the framework of the “new normal,” and in strict compliance with the biosafety measures imposed due the pandemic.

In a tour made by the different correspondent offices of Últimas Noticias throughout Venezuela, it was possible to observe the return to classes in each region, as well as the beginning of vaccinations in various elementary and secondary schools for young people over 12 years of age, both in public and private educational establishments, as reported by Delcy Rodríguez from the Alberto Müller Roja high school in Caracas, where representatives of UNICEF witnessed the process of child immunization.

In Zulia more than 600,000 students attended classes
More than 600,000 students from the 2,965 educational establishments at all levels of initial, primary, secondary, technical, adult, and special education in the state of Zulia started in-person classes, in accordance with the protocols and biosafety measures. About 80% of Venezuela’s education institutions are suitable for the safe return to classes in 2021-2022, reported Zendy Burgos, director of the educational zone, and secretary of education in Zulia state.

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Burgos indicated that the process will be carried out in conjunction with the biosafety committees already in place within each institution. “Each campus has its own rules and process for how classes and their education are going to start. Let us recall that each institution is a reality, that is why we say that education is localized.”

She highlighted that in each institution, alongside parents, representatives, community councils, educational committees, workers, administrators, teachers, mothers, fathers, and cooks, they organized and planned to receive students, “It is going to start at all levels… from the area of ​​initial, primary, secondary, technical, adult, and special education, each one according to the interests which they handle in their work environment, “said Burgos.

Burgos added that the biosafety committees of each institution will be held together with the community, parents, and representatives, and will be supported by citizen security for the use of face masks, hand washing, alcohol, and antibacterials.

She stressed that at the middle-school level they will be organized by a student biosafety committee. Each classroom will have a main student who will be in charge of monitoring biosafety measures and protocols.

On the other hand, Burgos reported that as of this Monday, October 25, COVID-19 vaccines will be applied in different educational institutions. “All by the authorization of the parents, or responsible representatives of each student.”

Vaccination begins for people over 12 years of age
As part of the actions to optimize the return to classes, the governor of the state of Zulia, Omar Prieto Fernández, coordinated the start of COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents over 12 years of age who are returning to classrooms.

The health authority in Zulia, Omaira Prieto, reported that they began vaccinating students from 12 years of age upwards to protect the health of the student community.

He explained that immunization for young people over 12 years of age will be carried out through brigades from the 64 Comprehensive Community Health Areas (ASIC) of Zulia, which will be deployed in elementary and high schools.

Prieto reported that there are currently 2.6 million vaccinated people in the state, representing 60% of the population, and noted that house-to-house visits will be emphasized until 100% of the population is vaccinated.

For his part, the mayor of the municipality of San Francisco, Dirwings Arrieta, stressed that they will work to accelerate the installation of vaccination locations, where more than 200,000 immunizations have already been recorded.

Arrieta stressed that as a result of the effectiveness of the Bolivarian government’s plans, Venezuela is safely returning to some semblance of normality in order to provide for the well-being of adolescents.

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Children and young people were vaccinated at the points installed in the educational centers

In Barcelona, ​​about 90% of the students and teachers were present
After a year and seven months of distance education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Anzoátegui state the safe return to classrooms began this Monday, October 25 under biosecurity measures.

The República de Chile Educational Unit, located in the city of Barcelona, ​​with more than two thousand registered students, served as a pilot center to monitor the resumption of face-to-face classes for the year 2021-2022. There the attendance of students, teaching staff, administrative staff and participating parents exceeded 90%.

According to the director of the campus, Reina González, academic activities have been carried out by groups in each section, from children and adolescents, from initial to diversified middle school.

“In a responsible, safe, and joyful manner, following the instructions of President Nicolás Maduro, today girls, boys, and young people return to their classrooms after almost two years, as a result of the pandemic,” said the Anzoátegui’s Protector Luis José Marcano in the welcoming ceremony that was held to receive schoolchildren.

Marcano, who is also a deputy to the National Assembly, highlighted the restoration of the educational infrastructure that has been carried out in the state, which has added about 200 schools, with the aid of the programs A Drop of Love For My School and I Sign Up For School.

He recognized the work of the organized community, community councils, Bolivarian mayors, foundations, and public and private institutions for the recovery of the facilities of schools and high schools.

Marcano also commented that they continue to work on improving the institutions, with the goal of improving all 1,262 education institutions installed in Anzoátegui.

“These infrastructure improvements are combined with the national policies of President Nicolás Maduro, through the School Feeding Program, and the effort being made in terms of security through the Peace Tables, that allow for the protection of spaces, so that they are prevented from being victims of acts of vandalism and crime, ”said Marcano.

School enrollment in the Anzoátegui state exceeds 370,000 students, according to figures from the educational district.

15-year-old Paola Siso was one of the first vaccinated

Vaccination centers installed in schools
For the first day of classes and with the support of the Ipasme vaccinators, in the Republic of Chile and Barcelona school a vaccination point against COVID-19 was installed

The first to be vaccinated were 15-year-old Paola Siso and 16-year-old Daniel Villalba, fourth- and fifth-year high school students, respectively.

Regarding the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program, Marcano recalled that over 700,000 people have been vaccinated, and that an average of 10,000 people are served per day in the 25 active vaccinations centers.

He commented that in the case of the education sector, the immunization of teaching, administrative, and worker personnel has been carried out, “and now we are going to the new phase that the president has called for, which is vaccination for students from the age of 12.”

He announced that the approach to the student population will be progressively activated starting this week to expand coverage of COVID-19 vaccination in Anzoátegui.

In Portuguesa, face-to-face classes resumed in 70% of the schools
70% of the educational institutions of Portuguesa opened their doors for the resumption of in-person classes, the first day of which was accompanied by COVID vaccination at the San Juan de Guanaguanare (Guanare) and José Antonio Páez (Acarigua) high schools.

On Monday, Alexis Cedrés, education authority for the region, presented a report on the beginning of the school year and the attendance of students, teachers, workers, and administrative personnel. “You can see the enthusiasm, the excitement of returning to face-to-face classes,” he said.

He reported that this Monday, materials were also delivered to 66 educational institutions in Portuguesa, which will be subject to repairs through the program A Drop of Love for My School.

Mass vaccination
The beginning of the school year in Portuguesa, marked by the return to classrooms, was supported by the Areas of Comprehensive Community Health (ASIC) to immunize the population between 12 and 17 years old, who are mostly in high schools.

Yelitza Ortiz, the state health authority, announced that starting this Tuesday the mass vaccination of students will be carried out: “each fixed point of vaccination will go to two campuses.”

It is also planned to locate a vaccination point in the 21 Comprehensive Diagnostic Centers (CDI), in social mission bases, in pharmaceutical chains and in public and private companies, “where we have guaranteed the cold chain.”

Ortiz added that while the high schools of Portuguesa are vaccinated against COVID-19, in the schools a deworming plan being is carried out.

Immunization of the 12 to 17-year-old population began

Slow return to the classrooms students from La Guaira
Slowly and with face masks, the schoolchildren from La Guaira arrived at the 315 schools to start primary classes for the school year, after a year and a half of distance classes.

Daniel González, head of the Educational Zone of La Guaira, reported that 85,000 students from La Guaira, from elementary to high school, returned to classrooms, and said that the state plans to vaccinate about 15,000 students over 12 years of age during the return to school.

During a tour of schools in La Guaira, the Ultimas Noticias team was able to observe the arrival of students to their schools.

Carmen Bolívar is a second-grade student at the EB Luis Beltrán Prieto Figueroa school, in Urimare parish. “It is the first time that I come to school,” she said. “My mother told me not to take off my mask, that I should not lend school supplies, and wash my hands.”

The school day began in initial, basic, special, and university schools. “Now I am in fourth year, it is better because we can talk to teachers and classmates,” said Jorge Díaz, a student at high school República de Panamá, La Guaira parish. “Now you have to take care of yourself and use a mask and full antibacterial gel.”

Biosecurity in schools
Biosafety brigades were put to the test at access points, classrooms, and schoolyards by receiving students, led by teachers, workers, and the student movement, said Eros García, a member of the Venezuelan Federation of High School Students.

“We have a contingency plan, in case a positive case turns up,” said Garcia. “The first thing is that the entire group of classes go into quarantine, followed by mass screening and disinfection of the classroom and school, as well as medical attention.”

In La Guaira, 85,000 students from primary to high school returned to classes Photo: Cirilo Hernández

Vaccination for children from the age of 12 begins in Nueva Esparta
In Nueva Esparta state, vaccination against COVID-19 for boys and girls aged 12 years and older began on Monday, in compliance with the policies of the national government for the return of students to classrooms.

Representatives can go with their children to authorize immunization. Photo: vaccinated kids with their vaccination card.

The first day of school was carried out simultaneously in 11 high schools of the island state, one from each municipality, reported the health authority in the state, Maira Velásquez, who indicated that the entire student population will be progressively covered in the rest of the institutions.

She explained that parents and representatives can go to schools with their children to authorize immunization or send a prior notification. In the same way, parents and representatives can vaccinate their children in the mass vaccination centers located in the different municipalities of the state, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The health authority summoned parents and guardians to go to vaccinate their children, and in this way, reinforce preventive and protection measures, guaranteeing the health of the population and the success of the plan to return to the classroom.


Featured image: Venezuelan child entering school in Caracas, using hand sanitizer. Photo courtesy of Jacobo Méndez/Últimas Noticias.

(Últimas Noticias) with Orinoco Tribune content

Translation: Orinoco Tribune





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