The Portuguese School of Dili opens the school year on September 17th, with strict health security rules, including permanent use of masks and social distance, and without the arrival of all teachers from Portugal.
“The first weeks will be to consolidate the material learned in distance learning, for more behavioral issues, citizenship and adaptation to the new reality”, explained Acácio de Brito, director of the Portuguese School of Dili (EPD).
Conditioned by the covid-19 pandemic prevention rules, the school year begins with only 23 of the 66 planned teachers, with the rest traveling from Lisbon only on 19 September.
These teachers, which include 20 new teachers, will take advantage of a flight that is being organized by EuroAtlântico to overcome the isolation in terms of air connections with which Timor-Leste has lived since March.
Upon arrival in Dili, teachers will still have to complete two weeks of quarantine, being able to work only after negative covid-19 tests carried out in Timor-Leste.
Acácio de Brito recognizes the challenges that the new year poses, when more than 1,100 students are expected at various levels of education, noting that the school is “prepared for the worst, but looking forward to everything going well”.
The opening of the school year marks the resumption of activities with students, which were suspended on March 13, due to the floods that significantly damaged the infrastructure, which has since been recovered and even, in some cases, improved.
The pandemic prevented classroom activities from being resumed even after the works were completed, with the last academic year to be completed remotely, except in the case of 12th grade exams.
The plan foresees different points for entering and leaving the school, with temperature measurement, and everyone – students, teachers, staff, visitors and guardians – must “wear a mask covering their mouth and nose during their entire stay. in school”.
This rule only does not apply to children in pre-school education, first cycle and the new project “Ano Zero”, an initiative that will debut this year to support students who, upon arrival at school, have greater difficulties with Portuguese.
At the entrance and exit of classrooms or teaching and learning spaces, all students and teachers should wash their hands with soap and water or disinfectant gel.
“In classrooms, it is mandatory for students and teachers to continuously use the protective mask and, as far as possible, students must maintain an adequate social distance. In the classroom, the sharing of school material is not allowed”, refer the new guidelines.
“In the sense of the prevalence of social distance, school corridors will not be allowed to gather students without the necessary social distance (1.5 meters)”, they add.
Acácio de Brito asks for the collaboration of parents and guardians, both for the provision of masks for students – reusable masks have become common in Timor-Leste today – and in terms of explaining and implementing the new safety rules sanitary.
Although the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) is that students wear a mask from the age of six, in the case of EPD this rule applies from the age of 10, with “strict” temperature control at entry and disinfection of hands.
The cafeteria will open for a longer time to accommodate a 50% reduction in capacity.
There will also be enhanced disinfection of all school spaces.
With regard to education, and among this year’s innovations, EPD debuts “Ano Zero”, with “children identified as non-speakers of the Portuguese language, with enormous difficulties in integrating into preschool groups, who are five years old. age, but who are not in a position to enter the 1st year of the 1st cycle of basic education “.
This class will work with a schedule of 20 hours per week of learning the Portuguese language, plus five hours for the areas of Personal and Social Training and Expression and Communication content.
“In order for students to feel motivated to learn the language and assimilate the content provided more easily, it is sought that, mainly, the resources to be used are playful and didactic, using songs and audios with the studied vocabulary, multimedia presentations, mimic and memorization games, favoring students’ interaction and oral expression “, explains EPD.
The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 880,000 deaths worldwide since December last year.
Timor-Leste has accumulated a total of 27 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, of which 26 have already been recovered.
This article is available in: Português