São Paulo will move towards school reopening in 2020

São Paulo will move towards school reopenings in 2020
São Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas. Photo: GOVESP

Unlike many countries in the Northern Hemisphere, Brazil’s school year coincides with the calendar year. Classes begin in February and end in early December (with a one-month break in July). Schools have been shut in the country’s largest city of São Paulo for six months now. Many São Paulo residents have been wondering if there would be any in-person classes at all this year. The topic remains hotly contested in Brazil.

According to São Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas, the answer is yes. The decision, however, concerns only the municipality of São Paulo — and does not interfere with plans adopted by other municipalities in the Greater São Paulo Area. Sources say the mayor will officially announce his decision today. 

Mr. Covas is expected to allow schools to hold first extra-curricular activities in October, with a full return still under evaluation. In the best-case scenario, in-person classes could possibly return as soon as November.

School reopenings in Latin America

In other countries in the region, classes have resumed in a controlled manner. In Argentina, only the San Juan province — which has recorded only 22 confirmed coronavirus deaths so far — has allowed in-person classes, a decision that affects less than 10,000 students.

Haiti and Cuba have both greenlit school reopenings — although these countries have tackled the pandemic very differently. Haiti has been a “black hole” of data, with little reliable information of the pandemic’s progression. Meanwhile, Cuba has excelled in containing the spread.

Both countries, however, imposed strict sanitary measures, such as the mandatory use of facemasks and social distancing inside classrooms. 

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