January 21, 2021

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Plan for the start of classes worries social workers

The College of Social Work Professionals of Puerto Rico today expressed concern about the plan to start classes in the public education system and asked the government to include social support in all schools on the Island .

“We understand that it was necessary to share the plan for the restart of classes because for families with children it is important to have clear information about the plans that the Department of Education has to plan the daily logistics in their lives. However, we continue to be concerned about various issues not included in the press conference. This plan is disclosed alleging a scientific basis, which does not consider the social dimension. Were the diversity of families, children and youth represented in the public education system, and the different sectors that make up the school community consulted and participated in the construction of this plan? ”asked the organization's president, Mabel López.

Likewise, she mentioned that the government should have held a dialogue with the school community, that is, parents and families in charge of children and youth, the teaching sector and its organizations, that of student services , such as social work, counseling, psychology, and all administrative personnel.

“These sectors must be consulted to build a work plan that considers the diversity of families and their needs. We cannot continue making the mistake of a public policy insensitive to its school community, as happened with the closing of schools, which ended up affecting our childhood and youth academically and socially, according to studies published by the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey Campus ” , López expressed in written statements.

"If we consider that 78% of the families that have their sons and daughters enrolled in the public education system are at the poverty level, we can interpret that they do not have access to a broadband internet network, which only have a technical team of a cell phone, and who live in geographic spaces where technology has no space. It is almost impossible to think that until December we will be working with the delivery of equipment, without including the lack of access to broadband internet for our families, "he said.

On the other hand, López asked the Department of Education to consider the social support services that families require in this change of academic paradigm and the diversity of situations that describe the most vulnerable families in the country.

“The role of the social work professional is once again invisible or misinterpreted in the school community. There was no assurance that schools have one or two social work professionals, as mentioned with the psychology professional. Demanding that school social work take care of family home visits must go with a health and safety plan as support, or incentive in such precarious times for working people. This plan must consider access to health and safety protection for the entire school community, "he pointed out.

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