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New academic year will not force students to be cut by class

“We have classes legally defined in the legislation that are smaller than the classes on the continent. We have an average in the Azores of 15 students per class, ”said the head of Education, Avelino Meneses, at a press conference in Angra do Heroísmo.

In the next school year, which starts on September 15th, the Azores will resume face-to-face teaching at all levels of education, and are preparing distance learning, as plan B, in case the covid-19 pandemic requires it.

According to the minister, the existence of larger classes occurs mainly in the islands with the most population, São Miguel and Terceira, but in these cases schools should use larger rooms to ensure the distance between students in classes.

“The information we already have is that the classes are below the standard numbers and that those that host more students are being placed in larger rooms. Before the beginning of the school year, we will have our monitoring team visit the schools and give their opinion on the subject ”, he stressed.

Avelino Meneses reinforced that, in the next school year, the regional education system will have 1,200 fewer students and 50 more classes.

This increase in classes should not, however, force the hiring of more teachers, according to the government official.

“I believe that we have enough teachers in the regional education system to meet the needs. They have already proved to be sufficient in the 3rd term of the past school year, when the pandemic was even more serious. We hope it will never be so serious again ”, he stressed.

The regional secretary of Education assured, on the other hand, that this year there will be a “lower percentage of precarious teachers in the teaching career”, due to the “successive integration of teachers in the staff”.

The placement of teachers is taking place “with absolute normality”, according to the governor, the results of the internal and external supply tenders are known today and on August 27 the list of placement of patients hired for a term of office.

As for the auxiliaries, the Azorean executive admits the possibility of adjustments, depending on the needs of each school.

“I do not exclude the possibility that, at the beginning of the school year, we take into account the eventual need to make some adjustments. In the past two weeks, there has been practically no day when you have not authorized the placement of educational support staff in our schools, ”he said.

The regional secretary of Education admitted that the aging of assistants has caused an increase in absenteeism, but stressed that schools have “generally double or more than double” employees than the law requires.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 202 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been recorded in the region, with 23 remaining active (20 in São Miguel, two in Terceira and one in Pico), 151 recovered and 16 people died.

The remaining 12 were diagnosed in the region, but chose to return to mainland Portugal, therefore, ceasing to figure in the region’s figures.

In Portugal, 1,792 people died from 55,211 confirmed to be infected, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.

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