After more than a month of returning to classroom classes in Uberlândia, in the Triângulo Mineiro, municipal teachers denounce teaching conditions that put workers’ health at risk in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic.
At a press conference earlier this month, the secretary of Education in Uberlândia, Tânia Toledo, pointed out 17 cases of education professionals contaminated by covid-19, in 12 different schools. The number of infected students was not informed.
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The return to on-site activities in the city’s municipal schools has been happening gradually. From June 14th, students can opt for the hybrid teaching model, whose presence is optional. For teachers, the return was considered mandatory.
According to the city, the hybrid system, established by the sanitary protocol, provides for the classes to be divided into two alternating groups: while, in a week, half of the students go to face-to-face education, the other half follow the content at a distance.
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The following week, those who had face-to-face classes move to remote learning and the others go to face-to-face, as a way to guarantee the adoption of distancing norms.
The city hall also declared that schools received biosafety materials, such as paper towels, liquid soap and gel alcohol, totems to facilitate access to hygiene and equipment to measure temperature. Altogether, there are about 70 thousand students enrolled in the schools.
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Teachers from the municipal network, however, point out that the return to face-to-face classes was not dialogued with the school community (students, family members and education professionals) and that schools have inadequacies that make it difficult to comply with the minimum protocols required in care to avoid coronavirus contamination.
“The problem is that [o ensino híbrido] is not working and the pandemic continues to advance, we have 97% of beds occupied. And it is impossible to be in two places at the same time, if the teacher is at school, in the classroom, how will he attend to students who are at home? And our schools, especially rural ones, don’t even have internet”, criticizes professor Ronaldo Ferreira.
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In addition to the work overload, Ronaldo says that the lack of investment in structure led teachers to bear the costs, using the internet, cell phones and computers, in addition to having lost the privacy of their private telephone number to serve students.
Another serious problem posed by a teacher, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, is the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Education professionals received few masks, of poor quality. According to her, many classrooms in schools are small, without ventilation, high windows, which are sometimes stuck, in addition to the size of the classrooms that do not allow enough space for social distance. It is also common for schools to have a single bathroom for all students.
“In day care centers, in kindergarten and in the early grades, it is impossible for education professionals to maintain the necessary distance, as it is necessary to change diapers, bathe, change clothes, tie a shoelace, give laps to the children”, points out the teacher.
Ronaldo Ferreira, who teaches at two rural schools in Uberlândia, reports that, over the course of the month, several professionals tested positive. He himself was infected with the coronavirus and worked for a whole week without knowing he was infected. He found out after doing a test on his own.
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“Recently, we lost a great education professional who was hit at work by the covid virus. This the secretariat does not say, does not disclose. And even when I tested positive, I had contact with my colleagues inside the van, in the school environment and none of them were removed preventively. They continue to work normally”, he denounces.
The city hall was contacted by the article to comment on the process of dismissal of professionals and students, and to update data regarding new infections. However, there was no response until the end of this article.
Source: BoF Minas Gerais
Edition: Larissa Costa