Special Update - Feb. 18
As of February 16th, we have been working on gaining approval by the Guatemalan authorities to remain on campus, even if we drop to the red level! The government mandates typically require only remote learning while in red level, but with this special waiver, they will make an exception to allow us to continue in a hybrid format, with additional safety restrictions.
While this will include heightened safety and health protocols, we are thrilled that students will be able to remain on campus this year in a safe manner.
A couple of weeks ago, we welcomed our students back on campus after a nearly two year, mandated school closure. We began our assessments to address the educational, socio-emotional, and nutritional deficiencies in our students from being away from campus for so long.
Seeing our students in person again was not just exciting, but was imperative in evaluating their upcoming needs, which have grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic. While we have adapted and met the most urgent needs of our students throughout the closure, direct support and contact with our staff is key to their long-term success.
Protocols for students on campus
In an effort to make sure that staff and students remain as safe as possible, we have put lengthy protocols into place. This includes breaking students into small cohorts called burbujas (bubbles), of ten students at maximum. The burbujas alternate, so that each grade level and class gets at least one day of in-person instruction per week on campus. The rest of the time, students continue with remote learning and are given nutritional and education supplies to get them through until their next day with us.
In addition to the strict social distancing measures, we remain closed to students on Wednesdays for heightened cleaning and sanitization. These efforts, coupled with expanded, strict health monitoring, allow us to limit exposure and quickly identify infections so as to stem the spread of the virus within our school.
Keeping up with the government mandates
Our ability to remain open, even in hybrid format, is dependent upon COVID-19 case levels. Every two weeks, the Guatemalan health authorities publish an update of the active cases in the country and give each municipality a color-coded rating.
The color-coded chart indicates the following risk levels:
Red – Maximum – with focus on remote learning
Orange – High – with learning allowed in a hybrid format
Yellow – Moderate – with learning on campus, but with heightened protocols
Green – Normal – with no restrictions
While we began at orange level, at the start of the school year, things quickly reverted to red and we were forced to close again. Our students have gone back to learning remotely for the last two weeks, due to heightened COVID cases. However, we are hopeful that we will soon return to orange level and can once again start in a hybrid format, as the amount of infections drop.
The next update will be in the next few days and we will keep everyone posted on the status.
Thank you so much for getting us to this point and accompanying us on this journey. For more information or to watch the video of our students return to campus, check out the previous blog post with our Executive Director, Trae Holland, and our Guatemalan Leadership Team.