Schools could be closed “far beyond” Easter holidays

in News · 27-03-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Prime Minister, António Costa, has admitted in parliament, that the closure of schools could “go much further” than the Easter holidays due to the covid-19 pandemic.

In the parliamentary debate, first in response to Catarina Martins, from Bloco de Esquerda, and then to Jerónimo de Sousa, from PCP, Costa admitted that “probably” the Government will decide to “prolong” the closure of schools “far beyond the Easter holidays”.
The leaders of PCP and BE questioned him about whether or not the executive would extend the subsidy created for parents who have to stay at home with children under the age of 12, whose schools have closed, for the Easter holidays.
The head of the Government did not open the extension of this measure during the holidays, as this break period was already foreseen in the school calendar.
Support for parents is expected to extend after the holidays and it is at this stage of the response that Costa admitted that schools remain without classroom lessons, as he predicts that schools will remain closed.
And in reply to Jerónimo de Sousa he repeated the explanation, admitting in the end: “The third period, probably, will not be much different than it has been these weeks.”
The suspension of face-to-face classes in schools was a measure enacted by the Government even before the declaration of a state of emergency.
Meanwhile, school principals have admitted to the possible suspension of 9th grade tests and exams, as well as the postponement of secondary exams to September, due to the covid-19 pandemic, but stated that an official decision will only be made in April.
Schools have been closed for a week, classes are at a distance and all data points to this continuing due to the spread of covid-19, whose peak of the disease is expected to occur after 14 April according to experts.
Among teachers and students, the question remains whether tests and exams will take place on the scheduled dates, but the answer to possible changes will only come after the Easter holidays, warned the Minister of Education this week.
Lusa spoke with the presidents of the two associations of school principals who are unanimous in saying that it is necessary to wait until 9 April. Until then, “one can only talk about possible scenarios”, explained the president of the National Association of School Leaders (ANDE), Manuel Pereira, in statements to Lusa.
However, Manuel Pereira considers that “it makes no sense to think about gauging tests”, which this year are scheduled to start in early May for 2nd year students.
The idea is corroborated by Filinto Lima, president of the National Association of Directors and Groupings and Public Schools (ANDAEP) who recalled that the assessment tests “involve very complicated administrative logistics”, since they are held annually by students in the 2nd, 5th and 8th years of schooling. These tests do not count towards the final grade and aim to detect any learning difficulties.
The 9th grade exams, which count towards the final grade, could also be suspended this year, taking into account the situation that the country is experiencing.
”We have to safeguard the essential exams, which are those for access to higher education,” said Filinto Lima, referring to the tests of students in the 11th and 12th years of schooling.
The president of ANADEP said that “the possibility of these tests being held in September should not be ruled out”, thus giving students and schools time to prepare.
“This is an atypical year”, corroborates Manuel Pereira, stressing that the most important thing in this process is “trying to guarantee the equity and equality of students” in access to higher education.
Starting the next school year later could be another effect of school closings and distance learning.


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