SANTIAGO, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Chilean President Sebastian Pinera inaugurated the 2021 school year on Monday, after more than a year without in-person classes in the country, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The return to classes is a necessity, something fundamental. Of course we have to do it while protecting health, which is the first priority of all our government's plans," he said from a school in the Santiago Metropolitan Region.
The return to face-to-face classes will be gradual, consisting of a modality mixed with virtual classes. In addition, the process will be voluntary and flexible, with each family and parent deciding whether to send their children.
To prepare for the return to classes, the Chilean government prioritized teachers and education workers last week in the massive vaccination process which began on Feb. 3, and which has inoculated more than 3.3 million people, most of them with doses from the Chinese laboratory Sinovac.
In just two weeks, more than half of the 513,000 teachers and education workers have been vaccinated, Pinera said.
The Chilean Ministry of Health reported on Monday an accumulated 829,770 COVID-19 cases and 20,660 deaths. Enditem