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Covas announces the return of face-to-face high school classes in São Paulo

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São Paulo – The mayor of São Paulo, Bruno Covas (PSDB), announced today (22) the return to face-to-face high school classes in the capital of São Paulo. Suspended since March due to the covid-19 pandemic, the decision is effective as of November 3. Students from municipal, state and private schools in the capital will be affected. The return is optional.

“This authorization is voluntary for parents, according to the decision in force by the National Education Council, and it must follow the health protocols already established,” said the mayor, at a news conference in the early afternoon. The return of elementary school students is scheduled for November 19. However, it will be conditioned to the result of the serological census of teachers and students, in progress.

Covas also announced that returning students should take a test to assess remote learning during the period of social isolation. Based on the results, according to the mayor, reinforcement classes should be defined, in case of deficit in relation to the contents.

Tests

During the press conference, a first covid-19 serological census was released with teachers, students and workers from the municipal network. Of 65,400 people tested in October, 13.2% have already had the disease; most students, who did not even show symptoms.

These tests were also important to define which teachers will return to face-to-face work first. “We are going to call teachers who are already immunized according to the census to go back to the classroom,” said Covas. The goal now is to test up to 120 thousand teachers and 675 thousand students.

The return to on-campus higher education classes has been authorized since October 7, together with extracurricular activities at all levels.

Controversies

In an Ibope survey carried out between October 13th and 15th, 81% of the capital’s parents said they were against returning to school.

The unions of education professionals are mostly opposed to return. The Union of Teachers of Official Education of the State of São Paulo (Apeoesp) approved, in an assembly held last Saturday (17), a strike state due to the return announced by the government of João Doria. The debate at the organization also heard student social movements, such as UNE, and other CUT unions. “Taking into account that the government did not invest in the structure of the school units, the Regionalized People’s Assembly decided that there will be no return from classroom classes in 2020”, they state. “If the government imposes a return to school, a general strike with suspension of all activities”, they conclude.

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Economy

Private school owners drop out of process back to school

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São Paulo – Sieeesp, a union that represents private schools in the state of São Paulo, withdrew from a lawsuit filed against the capital’s city hall. In action, he asked for back to school for all stages of basic education – infant and fundamental. In a demonstration on the last day (1), the eve of the Black Consciousness holiday, Judge Renata Barros Souto Maior Baiao acknowledged the withdrawal of the process by Sieeesp. And he officiated the Public Ministry. In an order of November 12, prosecutor João Paulo Faustinoni e Silva, from the Special Education Action Group of the São Paulo Public Prosecutor’s Office, spoke out against the granting of an injunction and recommended that the process be forwarded to the City Hall.

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The private teachers ‘union (Sinpro-SP) also contested Sieeesp’s action, calling for the dismissal of school owners’ action to return to face-to-face classes. The day after the MP’s demonstration, Sieeesp decided to abandon the action.

Municipal decree 59,860, signed on October 23 by the city of São Paulo, even allowed the resumption of classroom activities in high school. But it did not include permission for activities in early childhood education (up to 5 years old) or in elementary school (6 to 14 years old). Sieeesp argued, in its action, that the decision “would not have scientific support and would violate the principle of isonomy”.

Rushed back to school

Fepesp – the state federation of teachers of private schools – even condemned the decision of Mayor Bruno Covas’ management to release back to school in high school. And also the action of Sieeesp. “We consider the return to face-to-face activities to be hasty, as it exposes teachers, employees and everyone involved in the school ecosystem to the risk of contagion due to the agglomeration caused in classrooms or on public transport”, says Fepesp, in a note.

“The risk is still present and it was for no other reason that we insisted – and won in court – on special protection not only for education professionals in groups at risk. But also to all teachers who live with elderly people, with comorbidities, who are recovering from childbirth. And, thus, included in risk groups. ”

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