Without predetermined dates for the lack of definition, the Government admits starting with schools. While Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa points only to a reopening after Easter, there are those who defend the return to face-to-face mode as early as March.
This Monday, at the meeting at Infarmed, Minister Marta Temido said that the Executive still has no date set to start the deflation, but stated that schools should be the first to reopen, similar to what Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva said last week.
According to the weekly Express, at the last weekly meeting between the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, António Costa told Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa that the reopening of schools always have to be at the top of the priorities to suspect.
However, for the President, this priority it should only happen in April, after Easter. For Marcelo, the problem is not the students, but the circulation of people and the multiplication of contacts that the return to schools causes.
Thus, even if the numbers of the pandemic positively exceed the experts’ predictions and the goal of less than 200 interned in the ICU arrives before the end of March, the President considers that one should take it easy.
At the Infarmed meeting, epidemiologist Baltazar Nunes estimated that the number of patients with covid-19 admitted to intensive care could be below 300 in mid-March and below 200 at the end of the month – a number indicated by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, as a red line for safe deflation.
So, avoid precipitations to be the watchword shared by Marcelo and Costa to recover the country’s image in the most credible way in terms of pandemic management.
Open letter calls for schools to reopen in March
More than 200 people signed an open letter advocating the return to face-to-face education and the reopening of some schools – daycare centers, pre-school and basic education – from the beginning of March.
The letter, published in its entirety by the weekly Express, was sent to the Government and the President of the Republic. Professors, economists, scientists, doctors, psychologists, pediatricians, epidemiologists and managers, among others, are subscribed.
In addition to the opening of schools, the signatories argue that priority should be given to practical components of artistic and professional education, the security measures in force in schools were reinforced and new rules, as the mandatory use of the surgical mask from 6 years old.
According to the letter, teachers and educational assistants must be included in the vaccination priorities and professionals in risk groups are “replaced by others or teach remotely (with students at school) until they are vaccinated ”.
The letter also proposes to make periodic screenings, rapid tests, surveillance of contagions, to insist on the prohibition of meetings outside the school, to delay entry and exit times, to encourage the use of alternative means of transport and to increase the offer of public transport.
Another argument relates the confinement and closure of schools with an increase in psychological problems and psychiatric children and young people.
On the other hand, “distance learning is less effective than face-to-face teaching and has been a inequality multiplier“, Penalizing the most vulnerable students.
Virologist Pedro Simas, who also signed this letter, said in statements to the TSF, which is a “difficult decision”, since it requires a balance between science and other sectors of society, but we are already “in a position to take it”.
1st and 2nd year students can be the first to return
The newspaper Public advances this Tuesday that the 1st and 2nd year students should be the first to return to classroom teaching. Secondary and higher education students will only resume face-to-face classes in April.
The Government is considering dividing the time to return to 1st cycle classes. According to the morning man, students in the first two years of basic education cause greater apprehension because they are at a fundamental moment of their learning and suffer the impacts more serious confinement.
According to the president of the National Association of School Leaders, Manuel Pereira, teachers understand that it is “difficult to teach reading and writing at a distance”.
The same principle applies to 2nd grade students, who spent four months in remote education in the previous school year and saw the recovery started this year interrupted by a new confinement.
The National Federation of Education (FNE) asked this Monday that the return to school happens only when the health authorities advise it and in a prudent way, with a reinforcement of measures against the pandemic of the covid-19.
For representatives of teaching and non-teaching staff at schools, returning to face-to-face classes is desirable, but the decision to reopen schools must depend on the opinion of the scientific authorities. This return, they continue, has to be “done with prudence and without precipitation ” and the strengthening of health security measures.
Educational establishments have been closed since the end of January, when the Government announced the suspension of teaching activities for two weeks, which would be compensated during Carnival, Easter and an extra week at the end of the school year. Classes were resumed two weeks ago, but on a distance learning basis, with no date yet for returning to schools.
Maria Campos, ZAP //