Support for students with specific educational needs and students in vulnerable situations, therapeutic support, and meals are some of the services that will have to be guaranteed by teachers and non-teachers by the end of the week.

The decision of the Arbitration Court refers only to the strike for an indefinite period that began in December, convened by the Union of All Education Professionals (STOP), and follows a request submitted by the Ministry of Education.

The matter passed into the hands of the court on January 20, after the union rejected the proposal for the guardianship of minimum services that would allow schools to be open, provide meals and welcome students with special educational needs, and an Arbitral College was then constituted.

According to the judgment, schools will also have to guarantee the reception of students in the units integrated with the Learning Support Centers, the continuity of measures aimed at socio-emotional well-being, within the scope of the learning recovery plan, and the services concierge and supervision of students.

The STOP coordinator, André Pestana, considered it to be "a desperate form of an authoritarian government, which cannot have any other form than by force", and "an attack on the right to strike".

On the part of the Ministry of Education, which had already asked the Attorney General's Office for an opinion on the legality of the strike, the request was justified with the "duration and unpredictability" and the "accumulated consequences for students, with regard to their protection, food, and support in contexts of vulnerability”.

It is the third time that minimum services have been decreed for schools and, until 2013, the legislation did not include education among the “essential social needs”.

Many doubts

School directors say they have been left with many doubts and admit that it may be difficult to secure the defined minimum services, on the one hand, due to the lack of operational assistants that many schools face under normal circumstances and, on the other hand, due to overlapping strikes.

In addition to the STOP strike, a three-day national strike by the National Union of Licensed Teachers begins today, with a partial strike by the Independent Union of Teachers and Educators also taking place, and a strike by districts, called by a platform of nine trade union organizations.

“In case there are overlapping strikes, do schools have to have minimum services?”, asked, in statements to Lusa, the president of the National Association of Directors of Groupings and Public Schools, who sent, on Monday, a request for clarification to the Ministry of Education.

By the end of Tuesday, the association had still not received a response from the government and, acknowledging that the schools are, to a certain extent, unsure what to do.

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