From the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala:
Message for U.S. Citizens: Health Alert (8 September, 2020)
by Lesly Ely
As students in the U.S. return to school, we wanted to give you an update on the status of our students as they are nearing the end of a challenging school year.
Since April, students in rural schools have been doing their schoolwork at home. Parents of elementary school students go in person to the school once a week to get new assignments and a small bag of food for student lunches. The government of Guatemala has been providing this food, and now they are giving fruit or vegetables for each student.
Intermediate level students do their homework via the Internet or television. They do not receive food. Most of them have a cell phone and access to WhatsApp, and receive and deliver their assignments this way.
The president of Guatemala recently announced that there will be not yet be any scheduled international air service -- only private flights. They are trying to decide when international tourism can be reopened. Currently, they are asking for a letter for each person who enters the country saying that a coronovirus test was done and is negative. At this point, it is not known when commercial flights will resume.
The good news is that students in our scholarship program have not experienced any cases of the virus. In the communities, people are being very careful and they hardly go out to avoid contact. A month ago restaurants and some shops were reopened, so there is a little more income for families, except for those that make embroidery and fabrics and sell them to tourism. This is the main economic income for families in our program villages.
The Guatemalan school year ends in October, and it has been decided that students will finish classes from home. The government has not yet decided if in-person schooling will reopen in January, 2021.
Our Guatemalan staff members are very grateful for the monetary support that is being sent to the students and the bags of food that have been distributed, which has given a lot of relief and joy to families in our program.