According to a survey conducted by news website G1, eight of Brazil’s 27 states have already set a return date for their public schools — with most of them ready to allow in-person classes before the end of October.
In ten states, the government has no idea when schools will be allowed to host students again — in four, decrees on school shutdowns are set to expire, but a return date has yet to be established.
Meanwhile, three states do not intend to reopen public schools this year.
With little scientific information available on the effect of opening schools on the Covid-19 contagion curve — and the proximity of municipal elections in Brazil — the debate around a return to in-person classes is defined by the fear of families, opposition from teachers, and political calculations from politicians.
Schools in Brazil have a different calendar
Unlike countries in the Northern hemisphere, the school year in Brazil follows the calendar year, with classes running from February until December. The pandemic has created uncertainty among schools about how to deal with the 2020 school year — as classes have been shut down in most of the country for the past six months.
While many schools have held classes remotely, the school year has been hugely compromised, with educators debating on whether to force all students to repeat their current grades, or to attempt to squeeze two years into one in 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic has widened the education inequality gap between rich and poor students in Brazil.
While private institutions have been able to partner with online services such as Microsoft Teams to keep up with coursework, public schools have had to adapt to the socio-economic challenges of many of their students, whose parents may have lost their income and often do not have access to computers or internet at home.
Moreover, private schools have already returned in several Brazilian states.Support this coverage →