“We are a generation of widows, widows and orphans”:

In studies of fictional narratives, the classic type of storytelling is based on the so-called “hero’s journey”: the protagonist starts from a known world, encounters a big problem and, after facing it, returns to the world initial, wiser, experienced, with the lessons he accumulated in overcoming the problem.

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Since March 2020, the real world has become the stage for a story worthy of fiction. A contagious and lethal virus has spread to all countries. The difference is that, in real life, a single protagonist is unable to tackle the big problem. And the result is thousands of interrupted journeys. Across Brazil, there are already more than 557 thousand stories that no longer have their protagonist. In Paraná, there are more than 35.2 thousand.

In real life, the protagonist does not find redemption but death. And the “known world” tries to return, even though it remains immersed in the big problem. It is in this attempt to return to “normality” that Paraná began to return to classroom classes, in a hybrid system. The emotional aftereffects of the pandemic, however, show that it is impossible to return to normal immediately.

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“We talk little about our dead. We are on the yellow flag in Curitiba and everyone is happy. We have more than 500 new cases, with fifteen new deaths a day. How can you be happy? It’s not just numbers. They were parents, brothers, grandparents, children. We are a generation of widows, widows and orphans,” says Maria Angela da Motta, a teacher at the municipal school system in Curitiba, in an interview with Brazil in fact.

She lost her mother to covid-19 in March of this year. At the school where he works, four employees also died from the virus. “It’s something that hurts. We need to take in children who have lost family, parents, siblings, but we are also hurt. We also have this brand”, he says.

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With two classes in the morning and another ten in the afternoon, Maria Angela calculates that, in just one month, she will pass 400 children in school. The fear of contagion and of infecting your students is a constant concern. So far, she has only had the first dose of the covid-19 vaccine.

state network

In the state education system, the situation is repeated. A pedagogue employee of the state, who preferred not to have her name disclosed, says that the delicacy of the students’ emotional state is noticeable. In one of her school classes, six children lost a parent.

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Teachers and other employees have to learn to deal with the situation on their own. There is no initiative on the part of the government to offer any type of training or support aimed at emotional well-being in schools. “It seems that we are naturalizing the death factor”, says the educator.

Lack of security

Both in the municipal education system and in the state, concerns about safety criteria against the coronavirus are constant for professionals. The interviewees claim that it is impossible to maintain social distance in the classroom, even with the hybrid system and the reduced number of students present.

To make matters worse, in Curitiba some schools face a rotation of water supply, which makes it difficult to comply with the hand hygiene guidelines. At the beginning of the school year, the city government distributed alcohol gel and masks that were inadequate for proper protection against the virus.

In this scenario, there is no possible prediction of a normal and safe life inside schools, analyze the professionals interviewed by the report. “Either the managers will see this and we will return to remote learning with more deaths and chaos, or they will pretend that they are not seeing these deaths, this data”, says Maria Angela.

education response

To the report of Brazil de Facto Paraná, the State Department of Education (Seed) responded that “the return to schools is guided by compliance with the biosafety protocol, respecting all the necessary care and the respective capacity that is imposed on the classrooms.”

Regarding psychological support, Seed informed that it does not have a specific policy to deal with the emotional factor in schools. However, he said that “the emotional aspect is an important factor, so much so that the school is a welcoming place and is part of the Protection Network, which involves various institutions/areas, governmental or not, that work to solve highly complex social issues for children and adolescents at risk or in need of specialized care. The professionals, in turn, also count on actions to support physical and mental health through the Department of Server Health.”

The Municipal Department of Education did not respond until the closing of this report.

Source: BoF Paraná

Edition: Frédi Vasconcelos

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