Return to classes during a pandemic is a crime!

A return to in-person classes at this time puts at direct risk of contamination 55 million people including students and basic education professionals

he education systems are imposing the return of in-person classes under the guise of concern about the social function of schools. Photo: Bruno Cavalcanti

From the MST Page

At a time when the Brazilian population still lives with high levels of contamination and deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic, the MST has released a statement denouncing the crime of state and municipal governments that have ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and are allowing the reopening of schools and the return to in-person classes.

According to the statement, the return of in-person classes before the entire Brazilian population has been vaccinated will increase the numbers of contaminations and deaths due to Covid-19, since school is an environment that facilitates contamination because of the difficulty of ensuring social distance between children and providing the necessary health care.

The Landless Workers also demand the return of emergency aid, free vaccination of the entire population, the revocation of Constitutional Amendment nº 95 to ensure investments in health and education, and the impeachment of the Bolsonaro government.

Read the full statement below.

Return to classes during a pandemic is a crime!

Amid the worsening of the biggest national and global health crisis, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already claimed the lives of more than 220,000 people in Brazil, state and municipal governments are imposing the reopening of schools with the return to in-person classes.

Throughout 2020, when the pandemic was spreading around the world, it was noted that the coronavirus pandemic opened wide the social inequalities promoted by the capitalist way of organizing life and work on the planet.

The health and social crisis leaves no doubt that the current way of organizing society, the economy, culture, and the relationship with nature is broken. It is in structural crisis in such a way that governments and capital managers will not be able to face the current health and social crisis using historic neoliberal tools. In Brazil, economic austerity, embodied in Constitutional Amendment No. 95 (which set a ceiling for public spending), the withdrawal of social rights and the dismantling of the State on the one hand, and the resumption of the alleged normality of the sectors of the economy at any cost on the other, ignoring the deaths of workers due to the virus, hunger, and violence, are neoliberal measures adopted by governments as the only way out of the established crisis.

Although the scientific community has developed a vaccine against the coronavirus, and many countries are working in coordination to vaccinate their population, the Jair Bolsonaro government promotes chaos, disinformation–mainly through fake news–and confusion among the population. While promoting their negationist belief against vaccination, by discouraging social isolation as a safety measure, by encouraging the use of drugs without proven efficacy by the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the absence of a consistent vaccination plan for the entire population. Based on these measures, the government has been promoting death!

In this context of chaos, insecurity, and uncertainty, education systems are imposing the return of in-person classes under the guise of concern about the social function of schools, when in fact it is about serving the interests of the business and privatizing sector. This attempt to reestablish “normality” may cost thousands of lives, since school is a space that facilitates and propagates contamination of Covid-19. Therefore, the return of in-person classes at this time puts at risk the contamination of 55 million people (students and basic education professionals, according to the 2019 school census), in addition to their families and neighbors.

Considering the above, we are demanding:

1) Vaccination for the entire Brazilian population;
2) Compliance with social isolation, as this is an effective measure to avoid transmission and contagion of the coronavirus;
3) A guarantee by the State of financial resources for prevention, security and income for people in a situation of social vulnerability;
4) Immediate repeal of Constitutional Amendment No. 95, to guarantee investments in health and education;
5) Return to in-person classes only with vaccination of the population;
6) Remote education as an alternative, as long as the vaccine is not available for everyone during the pandemic;
7) The guarantee of material conditions (quality internet and technological resources) for access to remote education and equal opportunity between educational systems;
8) The guarantee of school meals for all families of enrolled students, as well as the implementation of the National School Nutrition Program (PNAE);
9) The planning of pedagogical actions, during the pandemic and post-vaccination, in dialogue with educators and the school community;
10) Immediate suspension of in-person classes in the pandemic without vaccinations;
11) Uncompromising defense of the Unified Health System (SUS), of the vaccine for all and public education.Bring Back Emergency Aid!

We want to breathe!
Vaccinations Now!
Bolsonaro must go!
This is urgent and necessary!
Struggle, Build Peoples Agrarian Reform!

MST Education Sector

February 2021