Pandemic update from Uruguay

Pandemic update from Uruguay

These are the measures we took and - are taking in view of the pandemic and the temporary closing of all schools in our country. We are working in close coordination with the Ministry of Sports of Uruguay and with the teachers and headmasters of the six schools where we have our tennis centers.

1. As soon as we were informed that schools would be closed down for an indefinite period of time, we reduced our coach monthly salary by a substantial amount, until the situation gets back to normal.

2. We decided to keep our programme alive through the making of videos, which will keep us in contact with the children. These videos will be transmitted to the children by their teachers along with all their normal curriculum material and through official platforms. We shall produce these videos on a weekly basis, about tennis of course, exercises that the children can do in their home and stressing the benefits and the values which we are always promoting - and at these times always prioritising fun, health, family and motivation.

We are fortunate enough, in Uruguay, to have at our disposal, the so called “Ceibal Plan“  (“ One laptop per child“) through which, starting some ten years ago, several hundred thousands laptops were distributed to school children, allowing them to be connected to internet with the CREA system of education: A virtual learning platform base with a logic of an educational social network stimulating learning with a constant and immediate teamwork and communication between pupils and teachers.

Uruguay was a pioneer in the world in establishing this system and it has been extremely successful.

We thought it could be very valuable to maintain our programme alive and we perceived the immediate enthusiasm of the Ministry of Sports, teachers and pupils.

We are working on this, putting together information with the teachers and helping them to make this happen, as all these projects are new for everybody.

Our new Ambassador for the schools  (junior Uruguayan champion, ITF junior ranked, and IC Junior Challenge player several times) Guillermina Grant, is also involved and working together for the material production.

We will soon have all these videos available if needed, through a new instagram page of our programme.

3. We had a change of Government in March 1st 2020. As we changed from a leftist government (in place for the past 15 years) to a center right coalition, all the Secretaries of State and the key people in all Ministries were replaced.

We made contact in March with the new Director in the Ministry of Sports, and had a long zoom session on April 23: it appears that the new authorities seem very interested to go on with our programme.

4. We had the cancellation of one of our partners, the Robert Abdesselam Foundation (which stopped activities). We were working hard in getting the interest of local companies to support us financially with the help from a professional fundraiser, specially contracted to that end.

For the time being, we put this on a standstill as we think it is not the appropriate moment to call on companies. We shall resume the search as soon as the situation will allow it.

We are trying to keep our budget for the time being to a strict minimum to maintain the programme alive and all the unspent money, if any, will be used next year.

About the Covid, a quick update on the local situation:

Uruguay is going through the crisis as well as it can. After 50 days of almost total standstill, some sectors of the economy are slowly starting to move.
Part of the construction sector started and a few hundred rural schools opened. All sports activities have not restarted, in some of them they are working on protocols (tennis is one of them). We are waiting for the government instructions day by day.

Philippe Pinet, Vice-Presidente




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