Through the month of July, there were five months of television broadcasts, which began on January 20 and were built up with a broader TV programming that did not stop even in the darkest hours of the COVID 19 pandemic on the island.
However, not everything was limited to the content students received that way, other virtual channels were used such as groups on social networks, especially WhatsApp, which implied an extra effort from both teachers and families.
In fact, the contribution and active participation of this fundamental core of society to the learning process of our children was, perhaps, one of the greatest challenges and also one of the most important achievements of the period, since the complexity of the situation forced mothers, parents, grandparents, grandmothers, uncles, aunts...to live up to circumstances and become teachers.
But at this stage, schools also kept their doors and phone lines open to support those who were teaching from home. The Ministry of Education enabled the possibility of approaching its institutions to receive the necessary guidance.
When the long-awaited moment of returning to schools finally arrived, no one had been resting. On the contrary, they had worked hard to guarantee the continuity of the in-person academic year 2020-2021, aware of all the complexities that it would entail.
An even more heterogeneous student body —in terms of their levels of preparation— returned to classes, so implementing an initial diagnosis test was paramount from an academic point of view. Besides, there were also different degrees of psychological harm due to confinement and losses caused by COVID. As never before, our teachers have had to use their psycho-pedagogical knowledge and tools so that not a single student was left behind.
Material resources have also been allocated to achieve the goal. A report by the Cuban News Agency states that: "for those who do not have a television or the necessary conditions to concentrate and assimilate the content at home, classrooms were enabled in nearby schools, with staff ready to help them to catch up on lost time and overcome the disadvantages in the academic order."
Everything was thought to guarantee, last November, that happy day where streets were dressed in uniforms and scarves, a celebration some tried to take away from us, but Cubans knew how to fix things and classrooms were opened peacefully and quietly across the country. Some dates and modalities were adjusted depending on the epidemiological situation. But we had faith in our sovereign vaccines.
And speaking of vaccines, several schools in Cuba served as vaccination clinics during the massive campaigns that were carried out nationwide, and almost all of them opened their doors for the immunization of children and adolescents, another feat that involved education workers as well.
Teachers, professors, administrative officers, remained active in different roles while classrooms remained closed. For example, Minister Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella, highlighted in a tweet post on March 27, that 181 educational institutions in the country operated as isolation centers and 5,000 education workers spent time there.
"Teachers do not stop. They produce food, analyze the budget, get ready, serve students, keep the kindergarten opened and work in isolation centers," she also highlighted in her Twitter profile.
Those same teachers, resumed activities in November and they were not tired by the vicissitudes of these times of pandemic. They actually looked more motivated and willing to educate, which is, as we already know, an act of infinite love. In Cuba, this is an absolute and irrevocable guarantee of a right: that of studying and learning.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff