In a morning press conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said each state will decide when students and teachers will be returning to classrooms.
The President urged each state to do as they see fit, but reminded governors and state education authorities to act responsibly.
Most teachers have yet to be inoculated against COVID-19, however, as Mexico’s vaccination efforts continue to move forward at a slower-than-expected pace.
Some educators are arguing that it will not be safe to return to in-person learning until the entire population has been vaccinated.
“I would be wise to postpone returning to classrooms until everyone has been vaccinated. Many colleagues have already passed away, so we really need to be careful,” said independent education union leader Elvira Caamal Vázequez.
Mexico’s largest employers’ association, COPARMEX, is arguing that the time has come for students to return to the classroom, as school closures are having severe economic effects on several industries, not just the education sector.
Mexico’s association of private schools has expressed grave concern over the situation and has warned about an educational gap that will result from the closures. The association is currently lobbying the governments of Mexico City and several states, including Yucatán, to allow students to return to class as soon as possible.
Almost a year after school closures, federal and state governments are yet to offer any official guidelines regarding the reopening of schools. The minimum requirement is likely to be the vaccination of all teachers and staff or a return to “green” under Mexico’s COVID traffic light.