12,000 teachers could miss classes due to “at risk” illnesses

No less than 12,000 teachers could end up shunning classes in September because they have illnesses that put them at risk if they contract Covid-19.

This is the message of the Fenprof teachers syndicate which is at loggerheads again with the government.

Syndicate leader Mário Nogueira has threatened to sue if any of his members “die through poor preparation of the academic year” ahead.

The ministry of education has criticised the syndicate for ‘sowing the seeds of fear’ in parents’ hearts and minds – but the scaremongering seems to continue.

Says Nogueira, ‘at risk teachers’ can be found in every school grouping of the country.

“We’re talking about 10% of teachers”, he said, rounding numbers out at “around 12,000”.

These teachers are suffering from a range of pathologies, from cancers to cardiovascular issues. Some have had transplants, which will also reduce their overall immunity.

When classes returned (in reduced form) for part of the 3rd period before July, these teachers were allowed to take ‘sick leave’ on the basis that they were vulnerable.

But no one is sure how things will be in September.

If taking sick leave means a cut in salaries, Nogueira fears many members will simply take a with their health and “risk giving classes”.

What he’s hoping will happen is that the ministry of education opts to substitute vulnerable teachers with those working within the school system on ‘extra curricular activities’.

For the time being, the ministry hasn’t explained how policy will move forwards.

Indeed, it’s still not totally clear how the next school year will look, although it has been stressed that children will be required to wear masks and keep a ‘safe physical distance’ between each other at all times.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com