Health Secretary: Sonoran Schools Could Begin In-Person Classes By March 15

By Kendal Blust
Published: Friday, March 5, 2021 - 4:40pm

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Mother and son work on homework
Kendal Blust/KJZZ
Eivon Peralta helps her 4-year-old son Jesús with his homework at a neighborhood youth center in September 2020 after schools closed in Sonora amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey has mandated that schools offer in-person classes by March 15. And officials in neighboring Sonora say they’re now eying a similar date for a possible return to the classroom.

Students across Mexico have been out of the classroom for nearly a year now. But that could soon change in Sonora, according to state Health Secretary Enrique Clausen.

"The Health Department will be ready with its protocols and measures starting March 15 to join schools in returning to in-person classes when they consider it appropriate."

He said specialists have determined that a gradual return to in-person instruction in Sonora is safe, but that school officials, teachers and parents need to be in agreement. And he emphasized the need for the community at large to strictly pandemic safety protocols to prevent outbreaks, especially during the upcoming Semana Santa and spring break, when many families travel and the state usually sees an influx of tourists.

So far, no Mexican states have returned to in-person instruction, though the southern state of Campeche could reopen classrooms by early April, according to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

He said this week that Campeche has met the federal government's requirements for restarting in-person classes, including being on green in the country's coronavirus traffic light system - which means it has low numbers of COVID019 cases and hospitalizations. Campeche has also already started vaccinating teachers and school staff. López Obrador has said states should wait to reopen classrooms until educators and the elderly have received vaccinations, but that it’s ultimately up to local leaders to decide.

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