The director-general of Health said today that it is impossible to impose rules of behavior on young children, arguing that it is up to adults to “do everything” to minimize the risk of contagion when they are playing and socializing.
Nurseries are “a place to play” and children are “very small and therefore it is not possible” to impose rules on their behavior, said Graça Freitas at the daily press conference on the evolution of the covid-19 pandemic in Portugal
However, he stressed, “we must do everything, but everything, that adults and space allow to minimize the risk of their games”.
Graça Freitas gave several examples of how to do this, such as “deploying classes, keeping as few children as possible inside a room”.
“It does not guarantee that they will not come together”, but it does allow for the creation of “a kind of widened social distance”.
On the other hand, he pointed out, “we know that they can’t help but join in, but they can leave their shoes at the door” and at bedtime their mattresses must be at a safe distance so as not to pass “droplets to your colleague on the side ”while they sleep.
It is also possible to ask that each boy have his own mattress and that “the meals that are taken also have spacing between the rooms, that are not all at the same time and that have separate circuits”, exemplified Graça Freitas.
“What we adults can do is not prevent the world of boys, but give the world of boys the greatest possible security and that is in the hands of adults, separating tables, rooms, dedicating the material as much as possible to a child , arranging their own circuits ”, he stressed.
For this reason, he defended, “it is so important that daycare centers organize themselves according to their space, the number of students to create this circuit”.
“Now, obviously, we are not going to prevent the normal development of boys, nor their games, nor their interactions, because that is impossible, we are going to do everything to minimize crossings between people, between boys, and on the other hand, protect adults who accompany them ”, reiterated the Director-General of Health.
As boys cannot use a mask, “adults will have to do it, obviously, always to minimize the likelihood of contagion from an adult to a child”, he further exemplified.
Graça Freitas stressed that the rules that were presented a few days ago in a public session were only yet to be discussed, to hear opinions from associations of parents and other sectors of activity.
“We have to think about boys who have their own characteristics and the right to their development and play and adults have to create rules that minimize the crossing between certain objects, equipment and then the crossing between many children at the same time,” he concluded.
The Association of Childhood Education Professionals (APEI) has already expressed “deep concern” about the conditions for reopening daycare centers within a week and says that the recommendations for this opening are “deeply inadequate”.