The Minister of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands, Manuela de Armas, has advanced this Tuesday that studies applying reduced three-hour shifts in the centers of the Aridane Valley, affected by the La Palma volcano eruption, to guarantee the back to face-to-face classes.
In an appearance before the Plenary of Parliament He has commented that the Ministry holds daily meetings with technicians from Pevolca, Public Health, Environment and security bodies to analyze, among other things, air quality, and when it is “unfavorable”, the digital class protocol is activated.
De Armas has said that they are looking for a way to “soften” some measures like that the students can use a surgical mask and not FPP2 or that they go out to the window in some moments but always “with the approval” of the scientific specialists.
Centers affected by the volcanic eruption
The counselor has indicated that the volcanic eruption has affected 23 centers in five municipalities and more than 5,200 students, relocated to the language school of Los Llanos de Aridane, the neighborhood center of El Retamar and the Princesa Cerina school.
He commented that the eruption “is a tremendous misfortune” that fully affects education and the objective is to “recover normality” little by little but “it has not been easy at all”, especially now with the presence of volcanic ash. “There are many difficulties and we feel very sorry for the families,” he said, but “safety comes first.”
The counselor has also recognized that they are “concerned” about the second year students of high school, who will face the end of the course EBAU, and for the cleaning of the centers, which is “very difficult” due to the incessant ash fall, hence the equipment has been reinforced once a week.
About the scholarships, has indicated that it was a success to increase the deadline because the requests from La Palma have increased and regarding the suspension of classes, he has indicated that they wait until 6:00 p.m. to communicate it because the air situation “is very changeable.”
De Armas has also said that it has been distributed protective material between teachers and students and the delivery of technological equipment will be completed these days to guarantee online classes, in parallel with specific training for students. “We are putting all the pillars that we need to move forward,” he said.
12.5 million in damage to educational infrastructure
Matilde Fleitas, from the Socialist Group, has pointed out that the damaged educational infrastructures total about 12.5 million and valued that the inspections carried out by the Ministry “center by center” to guarantee safety in the return to classes.
He has highlighted the effort of the Ministry to reinforce the cleaning teams in educational centers without being its competence, the teachers and the Psychological Support, the reorganization of the school transport routes plus 22,000 euros per month in healthy dining rooms and breakfasts.
Fleitas has raised the possibility of installing air scrubbers to ensure that classes can be taught on the toughest air quality days.
Vidina Espino, spokesperson for the Mixed Group, highlighted the “effort” of the teachers to adapt to the needs of the students and the Ministry itself, to seek solutions to an unexpected situation derived from the volcanic eruption.
He has demanded “more fluid communication” from the Ministry with teachers, more telematic means to teach classes and psychological support, for the teachers themselves, “they are touched and many have lost their homes”, and the students.
Melodie Mendoza (ASG) has appreciated that the scholarship application period for La Palma students has been extended until December 31, regretting that the families, hit by the volcano, will have to advance the money because they will not be paid, as minimum, until the end of the year.
María del Río, from Sí Podemos, has demanded “extraordinary measures” for La Palma, affected by a great “emotional crisis”, hence the request to adapt curricular content, lower bureaucratic tasks for teachers, more equipment in the centers, masks for teachers and students and better technological means to guarantee the online classes. In addition, he has indicated that a housing stock should be reserved for teachers displaced to the island.
Dropout by students studying abroad
Carmen Hernández, from Nueva Canarias (NC), has commented that the Psychological Support on La Palma “is the most important thing” because many families have lost their homes, “their memories”, and now we have to combine the covid protocol with the protocol of breathing an air laden with volcanic ash.
He has warned that there are young people who are considering leaving their studies abroad because the families, who were dedicated to farmingThey do not have financial resources.
Lorena Hernández, from the Popular Group, has highlighted that the loss of three educational centers shows the “magnitude” of the “catastrophe” that La Palma suffers, highlighting how “in just two days” a school was created in the neighborhood center of El Retamar.
He has commented that “it is a challenge” to influence the improvement of work and school conciliation and showed his concern about the need for financial aid so that no student leaves their studies and online teaching is guaranteed in all centers.
Sergio Rodríguez, from the Nationalist Group, has pointed out that the covid-19 “paralyzed the whole world” but now, despite the eruption, the lives of the affected families “continue”, with their added expenses, and he believes that there is a “lack of empathy “of the Ministry with some of its measures, giving as an example the” disorganization “around the announcements of the return to face-to-face classes.
Rodríguez, who is also mayor of El Paso, has asked for a “EBAU differentiated” for the students of the Aridane Valley because they are “at a disadvantage” with the rest of the students