Teachers union: Repair of schools damaged by Hurricane Maria, quakes has not progressed

By John McPhaul

The repair of island schools damaged by Hurricane Maria almost three years ago and the earthquakes since the beginning of this year in the southern part of Puerto Rico has not progressed, Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR by its Spanish initials) President Elba Aponte said Wednesday.

“I have not seen a sense of urgency in rehabilitating the schools that initially sustained failures in their structures,” Aponte said in an interview.

“Schools are not being rehabilitated to receive students, particularly those children from the southern area,” Aponte said. “The 140 schools that were previously sharing ‘interlocking’ [alternating] schedules due to structural failures. Since [Hurricane] Maria there have been schools affected.”

The union leader added that some students do not have the computers that the island Department of Education (DE) promised them or the modules they need to receive class instruction.

“Right now there are more than 80,000 students who selected a module mode and do not have the modules in their hands,” Aponte said, noting that modules will be distributed in October.

“There are things that teachers cannot control,” she said regarding complaints received by teachers.

Aponte held the DE responsible for the failures affecting education outside the classroom during the coronavirus pandemic.

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