Through a statement, the civil entity warned about the impact on mental health and educational deterioration before the adoption of distance education to contain the spread of the coronavirus. He even pointed out that this “damage” that is done to children and adolescents due to the interruption or limitation of learning “is greater” than the contagion among minors.
“The National Academy of Medicine considers that the immediate return to being present in the classroom is essential, considering that the risks of harming children and adolescents with distance education alone, or worse, the absence of education, outweigh the risks of becoming ill from COVID-19 for them and for the teaching staff, and that in turn this risk can be mitigated with strict compliance with known protocols in their instrumentation and results, ”the text highlights.
This is not the first time that the academic organization has spoken out on controversial national issues. A few years ago, the group had issued a statement against the abortion legalization project, which was finally sanctioned at the end of December, and the implementation of a protocol for the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy (ILE). Recently, it supported the work of the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) for being an organization with the rigor and prestige to approve the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccines that arrive in the country, including the already authorized Sputnik V.
On this occasion, given the debate on the presence in the classrooms, the doctors based their position in favor of the opening of schools and “observed with concern the impact that the pandemic and the measures used to control it have had on the health of the population, beyond the infection with COVID-19, due to the delay in consultations, in the beginning and in the follow-up of treatments and especially in what happened to girls, boys and adolescents such as severe mental health problems ”.
“Schools are essential in imparting knowledge and information, but they also have great significance in the processes of social integration as well as in preparing to think and work collaboratively, which directly influences public health and the economy. The promotion of educated minds is much more democratic than the distribution of other goods, because even the poorest and the weakest can access the fruits of culture ”, they expressed.
They also cited some international cases that support the resumption of face-to-face classes, and analysis of the spread of the virus in establishments in Sweden, Norway and the United States. Among the outstanding reports is the one released by the World Health Organization (WHO), where it was detected that “children under 18 years of age represent only 8.5% of reported cases of SARS-CoV-2, experiencing fundamentally a mild disease ”, with a relatively low number of deaths compared to the other age groups. However, they prescribed intensive care with “children with pre-existing health conditions can present serious clinical forms, which may require intensive care.
In addition, they illustrated the deterioration in the educational system caused by the consequences of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in the United States, by “interrupting for short periods of time the attendance of students in schools, they show a possible impact that non-presence has on knowledge of mathematics and grammar ”.
“It is necessary to prepare and adapt the systems to help rescue students that are academically behind, as a result of prolonged school closings,” they said from the ANM.
The grouped doctors endorsed previous announcements from Unicef and the Society Argentina of Pediatrics, and concluded that “complying with the SARS-CoV-2 mitigation measures, such as the use of the mask / mask, physical distancing and hand hygiene are effective actions to achieve low rates of secondary transmission in schools, without causing a greater burden of community infection to date ”.
These days the president Alberto Fernandez It has defined to promote and recommend “the greatest possible presence” in the provinces for the 2021 school year, while in several districts they have already defined a bimodality scheme. At the moment, the Buenos Aires government seeks that all students go to classrooms five days a week, but the discussion remains open with the teacher unions, which resist the initiative by demanding safe protocols and infrastructure works in the establishments.