Classes are about to resume in the ground zero of the volcanic crisis that affects La Palma since last September 19. Manuela Armas, Minister of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands, travels today to the Isla Bonita to agree with the school community most punished by the eruption of the Tajogaite volcano las guidelines to follow when returning to the classroom.
The damage report is devastating. The unitary school of Los Campitos (23 students) was buried by lava flows and there is also no Todoque (25). In addition, the unit of Jedey (9), Las Manchas Abajo (11) and María Milagros Acosta School in Puerto Naos (64 students). Of those 132 schoolchildren, only the family of a minor has carried out the procedures for the transfer of a file to a place far from the magmatic activity.
Twenty paralyzed complexes
The teaching, administrative and service personnel of the centers that interrupted classes as a result of the Tajogaite eruption returned to face-to-face activity this week. This return coincides with the reinforcement of the cleaning work in the educational infrastructures – staff from the Cabildo de La Palma and the municipalities of El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane have collaborated in the removal of ash from patios, courts, roofs and in the inside the classrooms – and the reorganization of the plans and work shifts of the teachers who will have to travel to the infrastructures where the schoolchildren will be relocated in a preventive manner.
The vast majority of schoolchildren will be transferred to the facilities of the CEE Princesa Acerina del Valle de Aridane
Twenty educational complexes in Los Llanos de Aridane (13), El Paso (5) and Tazacorte (2) and 4,073 students have been affected by an incident that will be analyzed during the work meeting that Manuela Armas will hold with the management of the centers in which the readjustments will be made. The CEE Princesa Acerina de Los Llanos de Aridane will be the one that supports the largest transfer due to the receipt of enrollment from the unitary schools of Los Campitos, Todoque and the Colegio Milagros Acosta (112 students).
Also the CEIP Adamancasis of El Paso (8) and Roque de los Llanos de Aridane (11) will increase the number of places for the 2021-22 academic year due to an emergency situation that in some cases will increase the travel times of the 20 minutes, before the Tajogaite volcano burst, at 80 or 90 minutes that now it could take a bus to travel the route enabled as an alternative to traffic cuts on the coastal highway. Of course, all school transportation will be free.
One of the issues that will be discussed at the meeting this morning is associated with the coexistence of the covid-19 protocol with the exceptional measures that will be taken to limit the exposure of students to gases and ashes. «What was being done due to the pandemic (taking the temperature, creating bubble groups, guaranteeing the safety distance) will not change, but to that we must add a specific protocol due to the situation of volcanological crisis that we are experiencing in the last two weeks », Alberto Taño Martín, insular director of Education advances, on the measures to be taken to guarantee the effectiveness of evacuation plans and the proper functioning of services such as transport and the dining room. “We want to take extreme precautions for a risk-free return,” he remarks.
The counselors will reinforce the work of teachers to help minors who have lost their homes
Another of the most important factors when resuming the activity has to do with the mood of the students. Almost all, directly or indirectly, have lost something in this catastrophe and, therefore, we want to promote psychological support with the orientation teams of the centers that will soon resume the course. On the table are piled up the problems related to the recovery of an educational pulse – the dining room fees, the school supplies that were lost destroyed by the laundry, the changes in routines – that will have to get used to living with the volcano.
The kilometer 0 of a complex reconstruction
Alberto Taño Martín, insular director of Education. is aware of the arduous task facing the educational community in the areas that have been devastated by the Tajogaite volcano. He knows that this is not reduced to a lot of numbers that must be balanced to lay the foundations of a reconstruction that has a gigantic mental and moral component. “It will not be easy at all to try to redirect, rather than normalize, a situation as brutal as the one we are experiencing,” says a manager who knows in detail the difficulties that exist on the side in which educators move. Calibrating the mental strength with which students return to the classroom will be a litmus test to see how a course that still carries the effects of harsh confinement will mature. “The feeling of being rooted is something that children also perceive and when they see what they have around them, it is lost, it is not easy at all to turn their heads away from the problems,” emphasizes Taño Martín in a clear reference to the “difficult days” that occur. They are living on the Isla Bonita.