If a week ago the concern was over the non-compulsory use of masks in schools in the UK, this last week we are faced with the Portuguese reality where, despite the obligation, the limitations, not to mention the dangers, in full view.
Let’s start with the size of the classes, still around 30 students, without forgetting 36 students and a teacher in a class whose windows will always be insufficient to ventilate so many souls breathing in the same space. And whoever says it in a classroom also says it in a container, whether or not the school has been under construction for five years, four beyond what was expected.
The doors? They were open the first day, there is, to promote ventilation, an invitation to the entry and exit of students who have not seen each other for six months between hello, contraindicated handshakes, kisses without mask, even more contraindicated, hugs of desire followed by very close selfies, all in the face of the despair of already hoarse teachers and the school year, literally, always at the door. Result: the door was closed. There is less ventilation, but also less contact.
The physical distance between the students? There are no individual tables for everyone, who has no choice but to sit side by side at the usual tables, but, be careful, with duct tape in the middle to separate everyone’s spaces. . Acrylics? There is no money.
Just as there is no money for more employees and therefore there is no capacity to clean tables and chairs at every interval. And without staff or resources to replace those who are sick and / or with sick children at home, it is also impossible to clean the bathrooms twice a day without forgetting, also twice a day, all the handrails, school door handles and switches. The one who cleans what he can when there is time is the teacher who makes his family wait at home and doesn’t want to take anything from them.
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Coming back to the use of masks by the students, everything is fine until the touch of the cell phone, inside or outside the classroom, and in all the situations where the student answers, without a mask , of course, otherwise nothing is perceived. “Shiu,” said the teacher with a furious indicator in his mouth, and as the teacher is almost 40 years old and not about to be threatened not to mention the flat tire and black eye when she comes home, it is better to leave the boy on the phone and gently ask him to end the call outside, which he accepts. Ufa.
Wash your hands? If in schools they have complained for a long time about the lack of toilet paper, after a week there is little alcohol gel left, order more only at the end of the month and the waiting list for deliveries is even longer. Order now? As I said before, there is no money and the secretary in the office is away from the house because her son is coughing and will not be back, we hope, for two weeks.
Teaching, remember, is inclusive, but the worst part is explaining to the child with profound autism the need to use a mask, quickly broken into pieces, to put it mildly. And in this class, there are three more like him. And teach in a class like that? It has not been taught for a long time, leaving the teacher to run the class, class by class, hour by hour and day by day until the long-awaited final reform. There are those who cannot, but these are other conversations.
As for breaks and lunch time at a school with a limit of 89 classes, but this year with 94, it’s absolutely impossible to maintain physical distance in the hallways – and then when it rains even less. Unidirectional circuits? They are marked on the ground, but since there are so many students, they do not see each other and the employees do not shout anymore.
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The bar space is more like an old-fashioned concert hall with the kids all dressed up and the faith in God and the canteen the older ones sit at ease, taking it out, whatever, with no one in them. join. For the reasons discussed above, I raise the flat tire and a black eye. At least the boys aren’t hungry. These, at least, or were not yet the school where many ate the only meal of the day.
Mask? They only have it if we give it to them and many teachers pay the money so that the children can go to school. The mask, of course, is the same every day.
Physical education classes? They are done according to all the rules, three meters distance between the students, small groups at a time, cleaning of the material, everything. The worst part are the breaks, when the kids are all playing ball and the distance goes down into the barrel.
Little friends? There we kiss them and we snuggle up behind pavilion A, not to mention the bathrooms where there can only be one at a time and when they do not have a mask, it is nevertheless the least.
“How about we turn the board into a school?”
Coming back to masks, trendy ones and brand go hand in hand, which is like word of mouth, exchanged at will between students more concerned with selfies, TikTok and Instagram than anything else. We even have 12-year-old influencers who can’t waste time with the drought in the classroom. But these are also other conversations and the worst part is the parents who gave them a cell phone for their hands.
The same cannot be said of students with asthma, for whom the use of a mask is not only pain but also the cause of asthma, sometimes just a little powder. The solution is obvious, they cannot wear a mask. As for the rest of the school population, the conversation is the same as always between the outer noses, the masks on the chin, hanging on the ear or serving as an elbow.
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Let’s face it, schools are doing what they can and the rest is a matter of time. We only have to look at the doors of schools at the end of the day and at the hundreds of students huddled without masks or distance to help us and then in the transport we do not even speak.
The obligatory mask is for the English to see, it is an accessory and I wish it wasn’t, but yes I wanted a free and unlimited distribution of masks, I wanted to not see anyone touching the mask or the face or nose, itch, feel, heat, I really wanted a lot, and most importantly, I didn’t want virus, but that’s the reality.
The reality is this, a reality where we all pretend and pretend that everything will be fine. And as long as that’s the case, we’ll continue to go to school and teach as much as possible, of course. Until we stop pretending.