Brazil’s return to classes clouded by fear and uncertainty

. Aug 04, 2020

With the Covid-19 pandemic showing no sign of immediate improvement in Brazil, the return to in-person schooling in states across the country is accompanied by feelings of fear and uncertainty, as experts warn of the dangers of contagion and parents and teachers protest the return. After more than 130 days without classes, we have listed the plans drawn up by each of Brazil’s 27 states:

  • Acre. Initially planned to return in September, the state announced yesterday it will be postponing the return to in-person education until 2021, as reported by G1. The coming term will be exclusively online.
  • Alagoas. The state government said in-person classes will be among the last activities to return, as part of its final stage of gradual reopening. The authority did not divulge an estimated date for schools to return. 
  • Amapá. The state has no expected date to return to classes, as G1 reported on Friday. Governor Waldez Goés (PDT) said in-person education will be one of the last activities to return.
  • Amazonas. In state capital Manaus, in-person classes will restart on August 10 for older students and two weeks later for middle-school students, according to O Estado de S. Paulo. Classes will return in a hybrid system, with in-person and online activities working simultaneously. The government has yet to define a return date for schools in other regions of the state. Private schools reopened activities at the beginning of July using a rotation system, by which classes alternate between distance learning and in-person teaching.
  • Bahia. The state has not defined a date to return to in-person classes, but the government has announced that when they do restart, extra classes will take place on Saturdays and there will be no holidays in December, according to UOL. The state is also conducting tests with students in different municipalities. 
  • Ceará. Schools in Ceará, both public and private, will have mass testing for students, according to the state’s Health Secretary, in an interview to TV Globo this Tuesday. Students are set to return to schools in September, Covid-19 case numbers are satisfactory. Ceará has implemented gradual reopenings for different regions. Fortaleza, the capital, is in the final stage.
  • Federal District. On July 13, G1 reported that the education authorities in the Federal District will begin a gradual return to classes on August 31, with different grades returning to lessons on different dates. Private schools have already been authorized to return.  
  • Espírito Santo. The state government has postponed in-person classes in all educational institutions until the end of August, reported local newspaper A Gazeta
  • Goiás. Private and public school classes restarted in Goiás this week, but in an exclusively remote format. In-person lessons are planned to return in September, but the situation is being reassessed every two weeks. 
  • Maranhão. Private schools restarted classes this week in a hybrid format, alternating between in-person and online education. Attendance is not mandatory. Public schools, meanwhile, have no set date to return, after the government conducted a survey which showed that most families do not want to return to in-person classes for the time being. 
  • Mato Grosso. Schools were set to resume lessons yesterday with exclusively online classes. State authorities have begun discussions about in-person activities, but there is no established date for a return, reports G1.
  • Mato Grosso do Sul. Last week, the state government published a decree in which it extended the suspension of in-person classes in public state schools until September 7, reported G1. It also recommended private schools and municipalities do the same. 
  • Minas Gerais. The State has not yet estimated concrete dates for classes to return, reports local newspaper O Tempo. The state capital Belo Horizonte has announced that schools are not included in its reopening plan.
  • Pará. Schools in Pará still don’t have a date to return. For public state schools, the return date has been postponed and the government will make a new decision by August 15, reports G1. In the state capital Belém, the municipality has estimated in-person classes will return on September 1. 
  • Paraíba. In-person activities have been suspended for an indefinite period, according to monitoring carried out by the National Board of Education Secretaries (Consed).
  • Paraná. In-person classes are to restart sometime in September, with the government to announce a precise date in two weeks. The state will adopt a gradual return — beginning with older students — and a rotation system, alternating in-person and online activities. The government said that the course of the pandemic might result in a change of plans, reports G1
  • Pernambuco. Last week, the state government decided to extend the decree that suspended classes until August 15 for all educational institutions in the state. 
  • Piauí. Schools and universities have had activities suspended indefinitely, with no date to return. But even without a date, education authorities in state capital Teresina are elaborating a protocol for the return which includes testing teachers and students and a rotation system, according to G1. 
  • Rio de Janeiro. In Rio de Janeiro, the return to classes has become the object of a court dispute between state and the city. Mayor Marcelo Crivella had authorized private schools in the state capital to reopen, but the state government outlawed the decision, saying that schools that reopen risk being fined. The State Education Secretary told newspaper O Globo this Tuesday that a decree that prohibits schools — both public and private — from reopening is likely to be extended. 
  • Rio Grande do Norte. The state government has extended a decree that suspended classes until August 14. Private schools are making preparations to return immediately after the 14th, shows G1. The State Education Secretary acknowledged the possibility that the 2020 school year may extend into 2021.
  • Rio Grande do Sul. There is no set date for classes to restart, but in the beginning of July state authorities projected students might return sometime in August, according to local newspaper GaúchaZeroHora
  • Rondônia. The state government said that, while there are plans to restart classes, there is no established date yet, as this depends on the curve of cases in the state, reports G1.
  • Roraima. In-person activities have been suspended for an indefinite period, according to monitoring carried out by the National Board of Education Secretaries (Consed).
  • Santa Catarina. In-person classes in the state are suspended until at least September 7. A return plan announced by the government focuses on students from the age of 14 and includes a rotation system between groups, according to G1
  • São Paulo. The return to classes in the state is planned for September 8 if, by that date, all cities are within the state’s Yellow Phase of the reopening plan for at least 28 days. The return will include all school grades, but in a rotation system, alternating different groups throughout the week while keeping attendance at 35 percent. But cities around the state are deciding not to return. In state capital São Paulo, city hall announced yesterday that classes are unlikely to return on the planned date. As reported by G1, cities in Greater São Paulo have decided to postpone in-person classes to 2021. 
  • Sergipe. The state government has not announced a date to return to in-person classes, but the Education Secretary said it is structuring a return plan.
  • Tocantins. Public schools began to return to in-person classes this week, with high school students returning first. The classes will occur in a rotation-like system, where the classes are divided into two groups. Each week, one group attends in-person classes, while the other completes activities at home. At the end of a two-week period, the state will assess the efficiency of the system to decide on other students’ return.
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Laís Martins

Laís Martins is a Brazilian journalist pursuing a master's degree in Media and Globalization. Her coverage is focused on politics, human rights, and society. Previously, she worked for Reuters Brasil.

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