"We are going to keep the schools running and this is the only, new and relevant exception," said the Prime Minister, António Costa, at the end of the Council of Ministers meeting, during which the new measures for the new confinement were decided.
"We will keep all educational establishments in full working order as they have been operating until now", he added, stressing that in this decision parents, guardians and school principals were heard.
According to a document distributed during the briefing of the Head of Government, the measure applies to nurseries, schools and universities.
António Costa explained that the measure is related to “the need not to sacrifice the current generation of students again”. Already on Tuesday, the Minister of Education had defended, in parliament, the maintenance of face-to-face classes, referring that distance learning harms students' learning, especially the most needy.
Today António Costa stressed the negative impacts of distance learning again: “After carefully evaluating the irrecoverable consequences for the educational process that the academic interruption of classroom activities had last year, we cannot repeat the same rule this year”.
The prime minister promised that educational establishments would be open "with the precautions that made the school safe". António Costa acknowledged that the “theme divides the scientific community, but unites the educational community”, referring to representatives of parents and guardians as well as school principals.
On Tuesday, the prime minister and party leaders met with experts to assess the epidemiological situation of covid-19 in Portugal, with no consensus among experts on the best solution for schools. "We are experiencing the most dangerous moment, but also a moment of more hope," said António Costa, asking people to stick to the "stay at home" rule.