The President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, announced this Thursday the “face-to-face and voluntary” return to classes from June 1, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We return to a fundamental aspect of life that is the future of our children,” explained Lacalle Pou, who added that physical distancing will be “key” and has appealed to the “responsible use” of freedom.

“We are convinced that the risk is minimal and there must be the will of the parents to decide whether the children participate or not,” said the Uruguayan president.

Thus, at a press conference, Lacalle Pou has detailed that the reactivation of the school year in person will take place on June 1, 15 and 29 of the same month. In this sense, stressing that what worries the Government the most is “health”, he specified that the reactivation is “progressive”.

On April 22, rural schools began to gradually return to classrooms, with the voluntary assistance of children. The percentage of children who attend now reaches 50 percent.

He also stressed that the return schedule is supported by the group of scientists who advise the Government on the response to the coronavirus.

Specifically, next Monday their directors and teachers will return to the educational facilities, according to the guidelines offered by the Presidency of Uruguay in a statement.

On June 1, the restart of face-to-face rural education will be extended to the entire country and to all modalities. Also, schools serving vulnerable students will be reopened throughout Uruguay, except for Montevideo and its metropolitan area.

Also, special education schools will be opened and students from the last year of upper secondary education (high school) will also be able to return to classrooms, but not in Montevideo.

Subsequently, on June 15, the opening of early childhood and initial education centers throughout the country, including private education, will be enabled.

In addition, public and private primary schools and high schools will also be opened, except in Montevideo and the metropolitan area of ​​the Uruguayan capital. As for the institutes, only the last year of high school in the capital will be put into operation, not foreseen in the previous stage. At this stage, intermediate and tertiary technical training may also be reactivated, although not in the capital.

The third stage, which begins on June 29, involves the reopening of all other primary, secondary and technical education centers, both public and private.

The Uruguayan Ministry of Health has so far confirmed 749 cases of COVID-19 across the country, including 20 deaths.