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TOPSHOT-MEXICO-HEALTH-VIRUS-EDUCATION A high school student watches a class on television as the school year begins in Mexico  (AFP or licensors)

School year begins in Mexico with Covid precautions in place

Mexican students begin the new school year, resuming classes via television and online, as the country's pandemic death toll continues to rise.

By James Blears

The new academic year has started this week in Mexico, but children remain at home, doing classes via the television or the internet.

Mexican Education Secretary Esteban Moctezuma says this is by far the best and the safest option for Mexico, pointing out that children in other countries have gone back to classes, and almost immediately new outbreaks have occurred. 

Standing alongside Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Moctezuma says that the main educational reliance is on television, because it has more scope and range than the internet for public education. However, many private schools have gone back to the internet formula.

More than half of the country’s work force is employed in the informal economy, so they have to physically go to their jobs, often taking their younger children with them. The Education Ministry has established 160 telephone support lines, but with more than thirty million students, resources are thinly spread and sorely stretched.

President Lopez Obrador claims the virulence of the virus is now waning, yet Health Officials confirm the death toll now exceeds 60,000 victims. Testing for Covid-19 has now dropped to three people per one hundred thousand.

In June Deputy Health Minister and Covid Spokesman Hugo Lopez Gatell said that if deaths surpassed 60,000 by October it would be a catastrophe and the worst-case scenario. Now these words have come back to haunt him.

Listen to James Blears' report:
25 August 2020, 17:16