Students in Costa Rica returned to face-to-face classes on Monday after almost a year of receiving distance lessons due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Classes were resumed in person for older students: fifth and sixth grades of primary education, and those of ninth, tenth and eleventh in secondary education, according to educational authorities.
A total of 1.19 million children and young people are enrolled in the public educational system, which returned to classes under a model that combines face-to-face and distance lessons.
The resumption of face-to-face lessons occurs at a time when Covid-19 cases show a marked decline in this country of 5 million inhabitants, which has already started a vaccination campaign for health and safety workers as well as older adults.
After a little more than 1,000 daily cases of new Covid-19 infections in early January, Costa Rica has registered between 400 and 500 daily cases since the second week of that month.
The return to face-to-face classes was received with enthusiasm by many young people who were reunited with their classmates, but also with fear and uncertainty for many parents who preferred not to send their children for fear of contagion of the coronavirus.
“I am grateful to return to face-to-face classes to share with my classmates and implement the new in-person and virtual modality. We are going to get the most out of it,” said student Zeidy Huete, from the Professional Technical College of the town of Purral, in the northeast of the metropolitan area.
The official ceremony for the start of classes was held at that school, which applied rigorous rules of distancing and cleanliness to avoid spreading Covid-19.
“This safe return to classes, with all the required health protocols and with a combined education modality, is part of our commitment to fight for quality education for all people, without distinction, throughout the country,” said President Carlos Alvarado in the ceremony.
In turn, the Deputy Minister of Education, Melania Brenes, indicated that the months of February and March will serve as tests to expand the number of students who can return to face-to-face classes.