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Researchers, doctors, teachers and parents advocate reopening schools

A hundred doctors, teachers, parents and researchers asked the Government and the President of the Republic to urgently reopen schools as of March 1, starting with the youngest and in a phased manner with due precautions.

Covid-19 Schools

Covid-19 Schools Lusa

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health, the other members of the Government, and the President of the Republic, the group, which includes virologist Pedro Simas and epidemiologist Henrique Barros, says it is possible keep schools open with classroom teaching with the necessary precautions and point out some measures.

The group of parents, teachers, epidemiologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians and other doctors, psychologists, scientists and professionals from different fields, recalls that a wide range of investigations “showed that schools are not relevant contexts of infection and, during the first period, the sanitary measures in place in the schools proved that the course of the epidemic was independent of the schools being open “.

For this reason, they advocate the reopening of daycare centers and pre-school education establishments in early March and opening basic education from the beginning of next month gradually and starting with the 1st and 2nd cycles.

The group also considers that effective means must be provided to the establishments and allow the return to real classroom teaching for all children and young people who benefit from school social action, signaled by the Children and Youth Protection Commissions, or for which the school considers ineffective. distance learning and are at risk of dropping out of school.

In the opinion of the signatories, when returning to the classroom, priority should be given to the practical components of artistic and professional education and make the surgical mask mandatory since the age of six provided by the school.

“Maintain and reinforce existing measures, ventilate spaces, maintain distance between seats, maintain the same seating places in classrooms, and avoid the grouping of parents and students, reinforce screening and ensure the quarantine of children and young people at risk “, are other measures pointed out by the group.

They also advocate encouraging the use of alternative means of transport, such as bicycles, to go to school, increasing the offer of public transport during school hours and further delaying the times of entry and exit to avoid groupings at these times.

“Insist on the prohibition, in times of great pressure, of out-of-school meetings, periodically screen the infection in samples of the school population in order to identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infections and include, after elderly health personnel and groups of risk, teachers and educational assistants in priority vaccination groups “, are also defended by the group.

The group also points out that high-risk teachers should be allowed to be replaced by others or teach remotely (with students at school) until they are vaccinated and the reinforcement or creation of a specific space in each school or group to apply tests antigen tests and initiate isolation and quarantine procedures.

They defend the surveillance of contagions in schools by regularly advertising their frequency and taking action based on this and other data, acting according to the risk in the region, type of school and age of students and maintaining regular contact between school principals and structures public health in order to improve outbreak management, avoiding general and late measures that cover all schools.

“We ask, finally, that a plan be drawn up, and sufficient resources be channeled, to make up for the delay accumulated by some students in key competences and to protect the physical and mental health of children and young people.”, Is mentioned in the letter.

The signatories say they are aware of the need for measures to contain the epidemic and reduce infections and argue that the measures indicated “are within the reach of the Government”.

They consider that the “success of a measure is not measured just by counting the number of infections today, but taking into account many other socioeconomic and psychological factors, but also health, physical and mental consequences, in the present and in the future.

The group also recalls that during the first period, sanitary measures in schools would prevent numerous cases and clusters (there were only 800 classes that had to close throughout the country in this period). In the month of February, in the 700 schools that are functioning to receive the children of essential professionals, only 25 positive cases resulted from the 13 thousand tests carried out.

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Source: SÁBADO by www.sabado.pt.

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