SP City Hall postpones decision on face-to-face classes to April 12

Schools may reopen in São Paulo on the 12th, which marks the beginning of the vaccination of teachers in the state – Photo: REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli

The mayor of São Paulo, Bruno Covas (PSDB), will publish on Thursday (1st) a decree authorizing state and private schools to remain open as of next Monday (5), but only for food. The city has decided that the face-to-face classes will resume from April 12, if the emergency phase ends on the 11th, as expected.

In practice, therefore, most private individuals are expected to remain closed next week, and municipal ones will not be open because the city hall is operating with food stamps for students. Private schools have already prepared a judicial offensive to try a preliminary injunction that authorizes the opening from the 5th, based mainly on a new decree by Governor João Doria that makes education essential activity in the pandemic, such as hospitals and police stations.

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According to the State Government’s SP Plan, schools can remain open even during the worsening of the pandemic. In the worst phases, orange, red and emergency, the maximum number of students allowed is 35%. In the emergency, in force since March 15, the government’s recommendation was for the face-to-face service to be restricted to students with greater difficulties, and state schools have remained open mainly for the provision of meals.

Despite this authorization from the São Paulo government for face-to-face classes, Covas chose to order the closure of all schools in the capital from March 17 to April 1, in addition to anticipating the holidays, which will extend the closure until next Sunday (4) .

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Since last year, Covas has been more restrictive than Doria in reopening schools. In addition to keeping institutions closed for longer than the state’s determination, he never admitted to loosening the rules for municipal, state and private schools.

In the interpretation of private institutions and the Open Schools Movement, with the decree of Doria that made education essential, no mayor of São Paulo can determine the closure of schools. But the decree itself conditions the opening to the city halls, and Bruno Covas’ Communication Secretariat said to the report that “the municipality has autonomy to restrict in-person attendance”.

The city believes that next week will bring positive results from confinement, if not decrease, at least a stabilization in the number of hospitalizations and deaths. In addition, the choice of the 12th day for the resumption of classes has a symbolic component, since it is the date of the beginning of the vaccination, in the state of São Paulo, of the teachers and all the education professionals who have more than 47 years of age. years old.

“It is with joy that we announce the resumption of classroom activities at the schools, the last to close and the first to reopen. That way everyone can plan,” Fernando Padula, São Paulo’s Secretary of Education, told the report.

Theme generates friction between Covas and Doria

Defining the opening of schools in the pandemic generates friction between toucans - Photo: Alexandre Schneider / Getty Images

Defining the opening of schools in the pandemic generates friction between toucans - Photo: Alexandre Schneider / Getty Images

Definition of opening schools in the pandemic generates friction between toucans – Photo: Alexandre Schneider / Getty Images

The resumption of face-to-face classes became one of the main points of divergence between Doria and Covas, both from the PSDB and political allies. In the Doria government, there is a conviction that schools can be safe in the pandemic, as long as the protocols are complied with, since studies indicate that children and adolescents are not major sources of contamination and transmission of the virus.

The closure of schools would be more damaging than the opening, considering impacts on health, learning and other social problems, such as domestic violence, malnutrition and school dropout. Covas City Hall, on the other hand, demonstrates resistance to dismissing students as the focus of transmission.

After a year with schools closed, members of the municipal administration began to be more open to dialogue with specialists, including infectologists, in favor of the reopening of schools. This week, the pressure has increased. In addition to the decree on the essentiality of education, the state government released a study by the University of Zurich and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that evaluated that back to school had no impact on the spread of the virus in 131 São Paulo municipalities, analyzed October to December.

In addition to the decree that will give instructions for the reopening, the mayor will also announce that all teachers and other professionals from the municipal network will be able to perform Covid-19 tests next week. The tests should be carried out in units of the CEU (Centro Educacional Unificado) and in some schools in different regions. The decree will also define that the priority of face-to-face activities should be that of students who are children of health professionals, the funeral service, social assistance, security and public transportation.

The capital has 2.5 million students in basic education, including public and private schools, that is, more than a quarter of all students in the state. If the emergency phase is extended, the mayor may evaluate a partial reopening of schools, as long as the pandemic numbers point to an improvement.

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