Puerto Rico – Concerned about an emotional collapse of teachers due to the wear and tear caused by facing this new reality of educating in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, Senator Axel “Chino” Roque Gracia met with representatives of the teachers’ unions Educate, Join and the Teachers Association, to have first-hand information to help you join in the search for relief for teachers.
After the meeting, Roque Gracia validated the need to propose an incentive for teachers for the expenses incurred during the implementation of distance education among them, the use of light and personal Internet.
“We are going to complete the legislative process, but we take the opportunity to ask the Governor to include it in this extraordinary session,” the Senator explained.
He added, “I was waiting for the first weeks of school to pass to give the Department of Education space and check how they worked. Likewise, give the unions space to evaluate this new unprecedented scenario and make their pertinent contributions. But we realized that this is not working and we have to take action ”.
At the meeting, the different situations faced by teachers such as back problems, illnesses, additional expenses in energy, cell phones and Internet and changes in employment conditions were mentioned through memos they receive on Fridays after their working day.
The union representatives took the opportunity to denounce that there are still students without taking classes and participants in the Special Education Program without receiving their therapies, for which they classified the situation as a saga of civil rights violations.
“We know that at this time returning to schools in person is not an option, but the Department of Education must start working now to achieve that. We must ensure stability for our teachers and school personnel and we must also ensure that our students take their classes and those who need therapy are also met, ”said Roque Gracia.
According to data presented by the representatives of the unions, it is estimated that there are 65% of students who are not taking classes, among the 80 thousand students that the DE has not been able to contact and those who still do not have the printed modules.
It was also mentioned that using various modalities to educate has represented an increase in the time that teachers dedicate to their days.
Roque Gracia understands that this issue must be treated with priority and that, in addition, “the emotional health of all those who have been affected must be ensured. The Government must give greater importance to Education, it is unacceptable that more than a month after classes have started, we have children without taking classes and that we have our teachers and school personnel enduring this type of situation ”.