A roadmap for back to school - 01/13/2022 - Alexandre Schneider

After a brief period of face-to-face classes, Brazilian students are on vacation and must return to classes amid the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic, this time with a new variant, more contagious than the previous ones. Ensuring a safe return to school will be the main mission of Brazilian society at the beginning of the year.

There is a certain boredom among the population after two years of the pandemic, followed by a relaxation of personal care, as demonstrated by the general behavior during the holiday period. It is up to everyone to be aware that it is not yet time to throw in the towel.

Ensuring a safe return, with everyone at school learning, will require coordination between education professionals, managers, family members and governments.

Regarding the safety of everyone in the school, the first step is to review the health protocols together with the health area, taking into account the lessons learned from the last year.

Observing the organization of school spaces, their rules of use, circulation, hygiene and ventilation should be part of the planning of the school year. The guarantee of personal hygiene materials before the start of the school year as well.

Schools should use the first few weeks of classes to educate students and their families on necessary personal care inside and outside of school, such as the use of masks, individual use of materials, cups and other utensils, frequent hand hygiene and other care. .

It is still necessary to measure the temperature of all those who circulate in the school and the adoption and communication to families of the measures of symptom monitoring, isolation, contact tracing and health care points. The schools’ greatest ally in ensuring everyone’s safety and against the further spread of the virus are families.

The guarantee of the right to education materializes when all individuals of school age are in school, learning. Schools already have a list of students who did not return to face-to-face activities at the end of the 2021 school year. The active search for these students must be carried out before the beginning of the 2022 school year. there was no failure, and students were automatically enrolled for the following school year, but this does not guarantee their attendance.

To prevent dropout and dropout, protocols must be created that warn of unexcused absences of students, promoted exchanges of information between departments of Education, Health and Social Development and the articulation of social protection networks in the territory that guarantee more fluidity in service. to extracurricular factors that impact the development of students.

The guarantee of learning is done with cohesive teams, capable of identifying the individual needs of students and acting on them. Good guidelines, curricula and materials are not enough. It is necessary to invest heavily in the training of teachers and school managers to expand their ability to engage students in learning. The biggest challenge for education in the next decade will be to promote learning for all so that each individual is able to guide their learning throughout their lives. Perhaps the effects of the pandemic on the organization of times and spaces for learning can open a window to new possible formulations.

Last — and not least — one more note about the omicron. The fact that it spreads more quickly will require not only careful protocols, but the adoption of measures such as the vaccination of children, the organization of materials for remote teaching for students in isolation and the reorganization of human resources so that there is no loss in case of removal of educators due to contamination.

The 2022 school year can be better than the previous ones if we organize the educational system based on health guidelines, the individual needs of students around a great partnership between education professionals, educational managers, families and governments around the guarantee of everyone’s right to education. None less.

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