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Costa Rica private schools will switch to virtual learning

The Association of Private Educational Centers (ACEP) said Costa Rica’s private schools will transition to virtual learning from May 24 until June 24 in “solidarity” with the public system.

“At ACEP, we fully understand the situation in the country and with the same commitment as always, we accept the request of the Ministry of Education to continue virtually,” said Giselle Betancourt, the organization’s director.

“The time to move exclusively to a virtual modality will be from May 24 to June 24. In solidarity, the private educational system will abide by the recommendation.”

The announcement from ACEP came hours after the Education Ministry (MEP) ordered public schools closed starting May 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The MEP decreed a full closure instead of a switch to virtual lessons because more than 400,000 students in the public-education system wouldn’t have adequate internet connectivity on short notice.

MEP said private educational centers could “make their own decisions” about whether or not to close. Many private schools follow the U.S. academic year, which doesn’t correspond with Costa Rica’s, and teach students who are more likely to have computers and internet access.

The suspension of public schools is meant to help Costa Rica vaccinate teachers, and Betancourt said the country should prioritize inoculating education workers.

“We make an imperative call that the workers in the education sector are vaccinated promptly so that we don’t delay the educational process in the country,” Betancourt said.

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