Five days into new term directors warn schools may need to close through staff absences

Five days into the new school term – and when schools reopened late due to measures designed to ‘contain the pandemic – directors are warning they may have to call it a day due to staff absences.

Omicron and its high transmissibility is cutting a swathe through the fully-vaccinated school community: teachers, janitors, non-teaching staff, many are having to go into isolation after testing positive.

Filinto Lima, president of the national association of school directors, insists his members will “do everything not to close, but if there is a wave it may be impossible to stop (temporary closures) from happening”.

For the time being, different schools are affected in different ways: some hardly at all; others really struggling.

Lusa highlights a situation in Póvoa de Varzim where one school group’s director fears he may have to close his institution as soon as next week. Eight teaching assistants are already isolating and the rest of the staff are only due to be formally tested next week. If there are more positives, Arlindo Ferreira of the Agrupamento Cego do Maio believes he could run out of options.

Yes, a certain amount of juggling can be performed, but not indefinitely, admit all concerned.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com