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Almost 90 % of public education in Puerto Rico will begin the 2021-2022 school year in a face-to-face manner on August 16, informed the interim secretary of the Department of Education (DE), Eliezer Ramos Parés.
“Undoubtedly, the challenge here was to guarantee face-to-face services for 100 % of the students and it continues to be a challenge, which is there, present and latent. Restoring educational services in the face-to-face format was always the priority from day one,” said Ramos Parés in a press conference broadcast via Facebook Live.
He detailed that 231,991 students will receive in-person education five days a week, corresponding to 88 % of the enrollment in 744 schools. While the other 12 % of public education, equivalent to 30,403, will receive between one and three days of classes in the classroom.
“The regions of Arecibo, Bayamón and Caguas will have in-person services in 100 % of their schools. The regions of Humacao, Mayagüez and San Juan will receive 85 % of their enrollment, the other 15 % will be hybrid, which means that they will have some days of face-to-face classes and others online,” he said.
Infrastructure, the greatest obstacle to public education
The Secretary of Education acknowledged that the biggest challenge of his Department is the infrastructure of the educational institutions that suffered the onslaught of hurricanes Irma and María, in addition to the earthquakes.
“We know the challenges we face and I want to advance that the biggest challenge the department has today is its infrastructure. That is what we are all here to face because we are going to rebuild that educational system. We are going to give better schools to our students and we are going to attend to the needs of the physical facilities and this process has already begun,” he emphasized.
He regretted that the works could not be completed by August 16, the day of the beginning of classes.