Prime Minister António Costa, accompanied by the Ministers of National Defence, João Gomes Cravinho, and Education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, visited the General Material Support Unit of the Army, in Benavente, where individual protection material is stored. to be distributed to the schools where face to face classes for the 11th and 12th grade students will start again , on May 18th.

The Prime Minister said that “in order to teach well and to learn well, it is essential that everyone feels comfortable. And everyone can only be comfortable if everyone is safe. Only then is there confidence”.

For there to be confidence among the elements of the educational community at the conclusion of the third term and the exam period that follows, the State has acquired the necessary protective equipment, he said.

“The virus does not exist in schools. The virus exists in each one of us and it is each one of us that carries it. In addition to the mask, hand washing, it is essential to practice the rule of safety distance, the respiratory etiquette and maintain hygiene standards”, he reiterated.

Resume face-to-face classes

To the teachers, staff and families of the students who are going to resume their on-site classes, António Costa wished that, starting on the 18th, “they enter the schools with confidence, to resume the learning process, which has never been interrupted, but which has been kept at a distance and must now continue in person”.

The Prime Minister praised the logistical operation of the Armed Forces, both in the disinfection of educational establishments and in the planning and organization of the distribution of protective material in about 500 schools.

“It was a very big job and it was a huge financial effort, because it is an immense amount of material. In this first wave alone, we are talking about more than four million masks for more than 500 schools”, he said.

Adaptation to the unforeseen

The Minister of National Defence highlighted the “permanent availability” shown by the Armed Forces in the fight against Covid-19, saying that “there were no holidays since the first day” of the pandemic.

João Gomes Cravinho referred that the work of the Armed Forces was first developed in coordination with the Health Government area, in the setting up of hospitals, then with that of Labor, Solidarity and the Ministry of Social Security, in supporting nursing homes and, now , in the last three weeks, with Education.

“The Armed Forces demonstrated, in this operation, a high planning capacity and, above all, a great capacity to adapt to the unforeseen. And the good Armed Forces are distinguished precisely by this ability to adapt” he said.

Trust and security

The Minister of Education also praised the role of the Armed Forces in training actions for the disinfection of educational establishments and, now, in the distribution of protective material.

“At this point, we need confidence and security. We know that we now have to do the reverse movement of lack of definition “, stated Tiago Brandão Rodrigues.

The Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Silva Ribeiro, said that the distribution of disinfection and protection material to schools takes place throughout the week and should be completed by Friday.