For the families of teachers killed by covid-19, all that’s left behind is longing. "It is too painful, because everything has the smell of the person. It is not only his physical body that has left, it is a part of his story", says Erismar Nunes de Oliveira emotionally. She is a teacher for the state of Amazonas’ public school system.
Her brother and fellow teacher, Erivonaldo de Oliveira, died at the height of the shortage of oxygen tanks that befell the state in January. The federal government was informed of the looming collapse, and that oxygen supply in Amazonas would end, yet nothing was done. Erivonaldo left behind his family and a professional legacy of 25 years at the Escola Estadual Petrônio Portela school.
Despite pressure from teachers and students' parents, public and private schools reopened in person classes across the country in 2021. The guidelines for going back to school required the adoption of safety measures, such as the wearing of masks, social distancing, and the availability of masks and rubbing alcohol on the premises. However, the lack of infrastructure inside schools, prevented healthcare protocols from being complied with.
The latest survey by the Education Workers Union of Amazonas, reveals a total of 64 teacher deaths due to the coronavirus as of mid-February.
"The feeling I have is that we are just a tool. In fact, for the system, we the workforce, can replaced at any time. Our lives cannot be replaced in this way for our families: my brother died", laments the teacher.
On Friday, March 19th, the Federal government’s Official Gazette published Jair Bolsonaro’s full veto to a project that provided for the transfer of government resources, to ensure that states could provide internet access inside the homes of teachers and students.
"If we were so important for the state educational network and for the country, we would be put in an immediate queue for the vaccine. This government that we have in power, is not concerned with the vaccine, is not concerned with people, with the Brazilian population, and much less with teachers", warned Erismar Nunes.
Brasil de Fato contacted the State Education Secretariat for the states of Amazonas and São Paulo, but did not get a response until the publishing of this report.
Edited by: Camila Maciel