Face-to-face education: Chile vs. England


After having lived for twelve years in London, together with my family we returned to Chile in March. We have been surprised by the politicization and the null priority that face-to-face education has in Chile.

In England, a cross-sectional consensus quickly emerged that schools should have priority when reopening. As data was collected, it was shown that schools were not sources of contagion and that the effects of confinement on the mental health of children were enormous. Consequently, the opening of schools with compulsory attendance was an absolute priority when the infections fell.

In Chile it is a political issue. If you are in favor of opening schools, you are on the right. If you are against, you are from the left. Islington, the commune where we lived in London, is traditionally a stronghold of the Labor Party. Even the current MP is Jeremy Corbyn. Even so, each and every one of the parents and teachers we met understood that the importance of face-to-face education had absolutely nothing to do with political positions.

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There are those who believe that the sanitary protocols in Chile are lax or are not being followed, so it is not possible to return to classes until we are in phase four. In London, a mask was not used in open or closed places in gardens and basic education, there were no glasses separating desks and they even ate lunch at school. Meanwhile the shopping centers, bars and gyms remained closed.

Let’s put politics aside and look at the scientific evidence and experience from other countries. It is imperative that we open schools.

Felipe Villarroel

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