A large group of mental health, cultural and educational professionals wrote an open letter in support for the return of face-to-face classes. Concerned about the educational inequality that occurred in 2020 and the comprehensive health of children and adolescents, the psychoanalysts Natalia Zito and Bárbara Abadi took the initiative, to which many important firms joined. Thus, they stated that “Opening schools must be a priority” and they warned that “Another school year of closed-door schools would have unprecedented psychological and social effects.”
“Faced with various attacks against the return to face-to-face classes that have occurred in recent weeks, the undersigned community of mental health, culture and education professionals deems it necessary support the decision of the National Government, Provincial Governments and CABA regarding the return to face-to-face classes in the 2021 school year (It was ratified for February 17 in the city of Buenos Aires). We agree that the opening of schools must be a priority and attendance must once again be the computer of our educational system in 2021 ″, began the text entitled “Safe return to schools.”
“Purely virtual education has shown its limitations, both for those who could access it, but even more so for those who did not have that privilege.. It is undeniable that inequality in education has been accentuated. Thus, we have contributed to social inequality. The gap has widened between vulnerable sectors that did not have access to education due to lack of connectivity and minimal material resources to study, or because they did not have adults with cultural, symbolic, emotional and temporal tools to sustain education; and sectors that have been able to sustain it, even with deficits, “continued the letter, which was signed by Santiago Kovadloff, Graciela Fernández Meijide, Ricardo Gil Lavedra, Daniel Sabsay, Fanny Mandelbaum, José Eduardo Abadi, Facundo Suárez Lastra and Diana Cohen Agrest, among other personalities.
After recalling the report of the Argentine Society of Pediatrics, which assured that “learning cannot be thought beyond emotions”, the letter continued stating: “The school is not only an institution that transmits knowledge, but constitutes the privileged space for socialization of NNyA (boys, girls and adolescents). It is in the transit through the school during those decisive years that the psyche is structured and subjective processes are produced that leave permanent traces. School is the place of children and youth in social dynamics, it is the main detector of situations of family violence, sexual abuse, psychological problems and early detection of cognitive disorders that must be assisted in time to avoid greater evils. It is the channel of integration and privileged support for children with disabilities. Collaborate with compliance with the vaccination schedule. It is in the bond with peers and trained teachers that the symbolic and social development necessary to become social beings with skills necessary for the future occurs. It is our duty to warn that the mere possibility of thinking about another school year of closed-door schools would have unprecedented psychological and social effects., impossible to quantify today, but without a doubt harmful and fundamentally avoidable ”.
Likewise, with respect to psychological disorders, they argued: “We must conceive health care in comprehensive terms and take into account that deterioration in terms of mental health implies a disease in itself, as well as favors the appearance of other diseases. . The closed schools have had a negative impact on the overall health of children and adolescents. Increased symptoms of psychological origin have been reported such as eating disorders, sleep disorders, anxiety, depressive states, inhibitions, phobias, pathological dependence on parents, excessive exposure to digital devices and irritability and consequent cognitive damage, isolation, maturational regressions, etc. The lack of face-to-face classes has had a negative impact on family tiesGenerating and increasing tensions between parents and children, it has generated unsustainable levels of stress and exhaustion, whose effect in the medium and long term is still unknown. Family violence and mistreatment, and gender inequality have increased since the accompaniment of the virtual education of children and adolescents and domestic care tasks have fallen mainly on women ”.
Finally, the community of mental health, culture and education professionals called for a different 2021 to go through: “We have learned a lot in the time that has elapsed, we have experiences from other countries and data that we did not have a year ago. This should lead us to make different decisions that allow us to protect the comprehensive health of children and adolescents.. School has always been a source of protection for children. We have to put children and adolescents safe, that is, in school ”.
In this way, they responded to other health and education professionals, who days ago had considered that the proposal for the return to school, ratified in CABA for February 17, was “ambiguous, imprecise and reckless.”
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