On 14th January, the Guatemalan Ministry of Education officially stated that schools will not open until March at the earliest. An inspection will take place in mid February for the Ministry to determine how many students can attend in-person classes and assess prevention protocolos including access to water, hand sanitiser and cleaning products.
This means our whole first quarter will now be a remote learning model. EFTC will continue to provide fortnightly food hampers, to ensure families have enough to eat and teachers will continue to organise homework swaps and regular phone calls with students. Our hope is that by April the school will have been approved to open, with the rates of Covid in Jocotenango low enough to do so safely.
In the meantime, staff members are able to meet and plan at the school. Our dedicated, resilient Guatemalan team will deliver the best education possible over the first quarter. Up to 4th grade, additional reading books, textbooks and school supplies will be distributed to students at home thanks to our successful ‘Deck The Halls’ Christmas fundraising campaign. However, without technology and internet access, we fear our older students won't progress as they would in the classroom.
Thanks to the incredible support of our corporate partners: Experian, St James Place Wealth Management and Fluent Money, we've been able to provide laptops for all of our Further Education Students. It is now our older (12-16 year old) Básico students in The School of Hope who desperately need access to technology/internet. This age group are particularly susceptible to disengagement which puts them at high risk of abandoning education altogether.
Post April, more teaching space is needed, in order to fit 230 students (half of the school) into a Covid secure hybrid program. Government restrictions require 4 meters between students, which due to the size and shape of our classrooms would allow only 4 per room. Outdoors the distance drops to 2.5 meters. To allow 230 students in the building each day we need to build 10 ranchitos, simple metal structures with laminate roofs. These shelters would house a total of 90 students, shaded from sun and protected from rain. They will be future proof, removable and flexible and used post-Covid for a student lunch area and meeting spaces for parents and staff.
To purchase essential technology and create extra space we need to raise £20,000 this quarter. This is absolutely vital to ensure our students do not miss out on any more of their education. If you know of any funding sources, grants, trusts or are able to personally help, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Please get in contact with firstname.lastname@example.org or donate directly at eftc.org.uk/donate.