Classes under the La Palma volcano

On a journey in which classroom attendance exceeded 90%, the students’ desire to resume the activity, the parents’ concern about a situation that is not controlled and the teachers’ concern to transfer a certain normality to their students were mixed.

The return is born with a first setback, since, in anticipation that the lava from the active front that crosses La Laguna will reach the sea, the decision has been made switch to telematic mode at two schools in Tazacorte in which from today there will be no face-to-face activity until further notice. With this scenario, twenty centers in the Aridane Valley recovered their activity yesterday. Almost all of them in their usual school, but others, such as the Unitarians of Los Campitos and Todoque, destroyed by lava flows, welcomed in new locations.

The students return “eagerly.” This was expressed by Ángeles Nieves, director of the Unitaria de Los Campitos, the first educational center that washed away the lava, and which began the activity in the CEE Princesa Acerina. For her it is important to start the activity “with great joy to meet again”, meaning that “it is a very special day with our children”, and being sure that “everything will go very well”. In El Paso, when it was not yet dawn, the doors of the Secondary Institute and the CEIP Adamancasis were opened, located 3.5 and four kilometers, respectively, from the cone of the volcano.

“Many problems”

At IES El Paso, one of his professors, Rafael Cabrera, points out that a month after everything stopped, the course was restarted “with many problems”, since “it seems that today the situation was extreme”, referring to the fact that this Monday was one of the “worst days” he has ever seen. Ash, smoke and, above all, the noise of the volcano’s explosions can be heard from this center. Despite this, he points out that a protocol has been designed “on how we have to act in emergencies,” which he adds, they have been working on “all these days.” Regarding his students, he indicates that “the boys are a little upset, and we have to encourage them so that, within their problems, we can ease their situation and give them some hope.” Three of these students are Marian Capote, Elvira García, Gabriel Martín, 4th year ESO and 1st high school students. Everyone agrees that the feelings of wanting to go back to class are now coming together, but with a fear that is still present.

Some centers are located 3.5 or 4 kilometers from the place of eruption of the volcano


Elvira emphasizes that on the one hand “you want to go back, because you are afraid of losing the course, because we are already starting to play it”. He also points out that “Infantil children see it as entertainment, but we already have that fear.” Just behind the center is a large column of smoke, so Marian regrets that with this situation “it will be difficult to concentrate, especially at first”, although she refers to “now it will be time to get used to noise in class.”

For Gabriel, what is most disturbing is being able to combine the Covid protocol with that of the volcano, but going back to classes helps them overcome the uncertainty of a month “locked up at home”, he highlights, especially for him who lives in Tazacorte, with the constant concern of the emanations of gases by the arrival of the lava to the sea. Miguel Viña arrives at the same center. He does it accompanied by his thirteen-year-old son, a 2nd year ESO student. They are neighbors of La Rosa in El Paso. Miguel doesn’t leave until he sees that his son has finished climbing the entrance ramp to the center and enters the building. He regrets that they have lived this month without sleep, with the noise of the volcano and, above all, with friends who have lost everything. “It’s a bad dream,” he muses.

Viña points out that the IES El Paso is the closest to the lava emission center, which gives him “a little something”, referring to the fear that his son will go to this facility. Even so, he emphasizes that if something happens, he expects to be called, “and I’ll be here in five minutes.” In this sense, she shows her confidence that the centers have controlled matters related to the pandemic, so she is not afraid to comply with her son’s wish to return to classes, although the minor is concerned about contamination and the fear that the volcano can continue to cause more damage.

The explosions, yesterday less intense, can be heard very clearly from inside the classes


For Miguel it is also a necessity to resume the teaching activity, since “it is the way we coexist with the volcano.” At the other educational center in the municipality, the Adamancasis Infant and Primary Center, Saray Santos leaves her son Erik a few minutes after 8:00 am. He is a five-year-old boy who, along with his family, was also a victim of the fire last August. Saray points out that “at first he was afraid because he was already coming from the experience of the fire, and he believed that again he was going to have to run from home”, but with the efforts of his parents he has come to understand what a volcano is, ” although he says there are two ”, because he sees the two columns of smoke that have risen over the Aridane Valley in recent days. This mother emphasizes that “the children get along well, sometimes better than us, and if we get them to play and entertain themselves, the worry is removed.” In any case, he points out that “this last month has been very difficult, locked up for a long time,” so Erik was “really looking forward to coming.”

The first stone is already laid. Now it is only necessary for the Tajogaite volcano to lower its levels of fury and “normality”, little by little, settles in the Aridane Valley after a month flooded with ashes, also with doubts.


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