The Secretary of Education, Eligio Hernández, defended the agency’s decision not to reopen the school canteens, alleging that it is a matter of “strategy”, although it did not want to explain the criteria to determine that the non-profit organizations, to which it has been transferred responsibility, are the best alternative to feed the poor population.
“There are 23 different reading methods. Which of them is better depends on the context. At this time, the strategy to be used by the Department of Education and the government of Puerto Rico is not to open the dining rooms. (The strategy is) in the first instance, distributing or cooking food through independent authorities and inviting organizations that can do the same job. In the second instance, those who participate in the Pacna program (Food Program for the Care of Children and Adults) who can continue offering the services. And third, through non-profit organizations, “the secretary listed.
“The result is to achieve food. I can come to the COE (Emergency Operations Center) on the highway and exit on (highway) number 1 or I can come from Caguas here or come from San Juan here. They are strategies, so the strategy selected by the Department of Education and the government of Puerto Rico is the one I just mentioned, “added Hernández, who, despite the insistence of the media, at no time offered concrete reasons to justify his decision.
The Secretary of state, Elmer Román, He left the door open to reconsider the official position, but also stated that the closure of school canteens is the appropriate determination in accordance with the government’s public policy to avoid crowds.
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“Because we are still working on this process of reaching the peak (of Covid-19 the strategy is to try to keep as many staff as possible in their homes, ”he said.
However, the administration of the Governor Wanda Vázquez He has announced that he is preparing to accept the recommendations of the ‘task forces’ advisers in economy and health to gradually reopen the economy. Likewise, independent entities, such as the “People’s Task Force”, have proposed that mechanisms be established so that the food prepared in school canteens can be collected by ‘servicarro’ families or delivered to the homes of people in need.
At the press conference, the health Secretary, Lorenzo Gonzalez, reiterated his position that school canteens, from a salubrious perspective, could be safely reopened if Education deemed it necessary.
Hernández insisted that the processes that the agency has established do not contravene federal regulations that regulate the obligation of public schools to feed their students.
Reacts to demand
Hernández, on the other hand, indicated that he has not yet been summoned, by the court in response to the lawsuit filed by a group of mothers and organizations seeking to order Education to resume the school canteen program.
“We cannot pronounce on the matter. It is at the discretion of the honorable court to examine the merits of what is being argued, “said the head of the agency.
Hernández denied that among the products donated or delivered by the Department of Education are expired products, as chef Iván Clemente denounced yesterday on a television program.
“The Department of Education has no claim of having granted expired food,” said the secretary.
We recommend this episode of the podcast With The Editors about the emergency and hunger:
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