Professors at the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), in Minas Gerais, have been on a health strike against the return of classroom classes since September 15th. Previously, the university published an ordinance determining the return of teaching staff and administrative technicians to face-to-face work, as of September 8th. The decision for the health strike was taken at a general meeting called by the teachers’ union, ADUFLA.
“So the activities and in-person classes were suspended by the unionized faculty in defense of the health and life preservation of the academic community and of the entire Lavrense population”, declared the professor of the UFLA Department of Physics, representative of the Unified Command of Sanitary Strike and ADUFLA secretariat, Karen Luz Burgoa Rosso.
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Karen also states that “in-person feedback under the conditions proposed by the UFLA administration are inadequate to national and international sanitary protocols” and highlights that “the health strike was also triggered by the technical-administrative staff and by the UFLA graduate student body’ ‘.
Face-to-face return represents a risk to the community
The reasons that lead the category to concern with the return of face-to-face activities are related to the necessary health care to combat the new coronavirus pandemic.
Karen highlights that there is a lack of complete immunization of undergraduate and graduate students, lack of sanitary and immunization conditions for at least 70% of the population of the municipality of Lavras, weakness in UFLA’s sanitary protocols and inadequacy of physical spaces for the safe labor exercise, in addition to the absence of adequate negotiation and dialogue with the representative entities in relation to a safe return.
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Since 2020, federal universities have adopted Emergency Remote Teaching as an alternative to interrupting on-site activities. Karen states that during the Sanitary Strike “all activities carried out remotely will be maintained, without prejudice to any function”.
Strike mobilizes academic community
The Unified Command of Sanitary Strike has carried out several dialogue activities and mobilization of the academic community. “Daily activities are taking place, lives with infectious diseases, with ANDES-SN staff, public hearing at the Municipality of Lavras, production for social networks, production of billboards in the city and reports according to demands that arise, including conversations with entities and clarification of doubts from the bases”, said Karen.
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Only 36% of the population of Lavras is immunized
The city of Lavras (MG), a municipality with about 100,000 inhabitants, where the university is located, has had 167 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Only 36% of the city’s population is fully immunized.
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Data from early September, collected by the Central Directory of Students (DCE), showed that 65% of the UFLA student body had not yet taken the first dose of the vaccine and 31% had taken only the first dose. “In other words, the return of activities and on-site practical classes is being imposed in the absence of complete immunization of the undergraduate and graduate student body”, asks Karen.
For the professor, “the return of activities represents serious risks to the health and life of the academic community and the population of Lavrée, as it will put the entire city and region at risk of new outbreaks of covid-19”.
Source: BoF Minas Gerais
Edition: Elis Almeida