COVID-19: Venezuelan schools to remain closed till 2021

Children attend a drawing activity in a nursery school as it reopens after Palestinians ease the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Gaza City June 2, 2020. Picture taken June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem - RC2N1H9AJDP1
Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, says schools will not reopen until 2021 at the earliest.
Like most countries, Venezuela shut down its schools in March after it recorded its first case of COVID-19.

The South American country, with a population of about 29 million, has over 60,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, a number its health workers claim would rise if testing is increased.

Speaking on Sunday during the weekly meeting with his COVID-19 prevention commission, Maduro said going back to the classrooms may worsen the situation in the country.

Maduro said after analysing the results of some surveys, he decided to keep schools suspended and ordered the immediate adaptation of the Vive TV channel for tele-education.

“There is no face-to-face return to classes in Venezuela. It’s not helpful for the control of the pandemic,” Maduro said.

Many parents have, however, expressed concerns about Venezuela’s internet speed, said to be one of the slowest in Latin America.

They further argued that with the frequent power cuts experienced in the country, neither online nor TV classes are a viable alternative.

Some critics of the government also said they fear lessons broadcast on state channels will be used by the socialist government to “indoctrinate” children.