“Single desks and entrances staggered according to age groups are arriving”

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Minister Azzolina, families want to know more about returning to school in September. Do we want to make a point on what certainties are today? We return to class on September 14th. But then – online teaching, masks … – what else?
“To families I say that in September you can go back to class safely”, replies the Minister of Education, who accepted the request of the Messenger to make an exhaustive point on what millions of Italian families will find in September, announcing, among other things, the decision to review the entry times “according to age groups” in an anti-gathering key. «There are three things to do to guarantee the distance and we will do them: improve and recover space inside the institutes, identify new premises outside the school, have more teachers and ATA staff. We will put school-to-school solutions into practice together with the regional tables that have already started. On the first of September the institutes will already be open to give lessons to those who are left behind and those who want to enhance their learning. Then on the 14th the official start of the lessons. “

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And what can be said about the mask today: will it really be mandatory for all “over six”?
“The Ministry of Health has already said that it will reevaluate the measure in the second half of August.”

Could it be that there has been a problem of excess communication, in the sense that hypotheses have been communicated in flurry, rather than few but clear certainties?
«There are European countries that have announced the reopening of schools and then backed down a few days before. How would it have been commented in our country? I think we need a truth speech: the pandemic has overwhelmed everything. Not only in Italy. I add: we do not confuse the official information of the Ministry with the indiscretions or the drafts that are often read and interpreted superficially. Confusion is fueled by those who seek consensus. Collaboration is needed on the school. ”

In the inevitable controversy of these days, have you felt supported by your colleagues in government?
“Absolutely yes. School is a government priority. In these days the ministers have supported me in the request to guarantee a billion euros more for September ».

Disused buildings to be reactivated, teachers to be found, schedules and environments to be reinvented: all in just two months. Will the schools make it?
«There are shared guidelines. And there is money. Now there is work to be done. From this week I will be on the territories to lend a hand and check that the work is going on. Everyone will do their part. ”

To ensure the spacing, new furnishings are needed, first of all the single benches. But every year the schools are left without: who will buy them if the local authorities are always in trouble?
“There are schools that have decommissioned premises, for example a classroom that has been unusable for years due to maintenance problems. It is unthinkable that in September it is still closed. As for school furniture, the new generation single desks earn meters and guarantee teaching innovation. I believe they will be the priority for many institutions. The extraordinary police station for emergencies will help us with the purchase and distribution. ”

We have seen all the futuristic renderings released by President Conte: but how many students will really be able to enjoy brand new classrooms?
«Futuristic rendering? Those are images of Italian schools. Schools that thanks to autonomy have been able to design. Our job is to help those who are left behind. We now spend the resources well, investments can be made that remain for years ».

According to the ministry estimates, to date 1 million 200 thousand students according to anti-Covid-19 standards, do not have a desk in the classroom: where will they study?
«We have built a digital system to have numbers on space and organization in real time. There was nothing like this before. This is the starting situation. The arrival one, I have already said, will be a classroom for everyone “.

What does lecture in cinemas or theaters involve? Who will think about moving and cleaning the premises?
«Cleaning and hygiene are the priority. Here too there are the necessary resources. And an information campaign will be needed for students and families. Even just washing your hands is not an obvious gesture when it comes to minors ».

How will the shortage of teachers be remedied? Many rankings are also sold out for substitutes: will there be a greater use of calls from new graduates to the first experience (made available)?
«We are working to update the rankings of the alternates and to digitize them, which had never been done before. This will allow us to have the teachers we need and to be able to assign them more quickly. Let me say one thing about substitutes: if they have increased over time, it is because no competitions have been held. And certainly not from this government which, instead, has banned 78 thousand seats “.

To strengthen online teaching, which may be necessary in the face of the criticalities of distancing, what will the ministry do?
«Digital teaching will have a regulatory framework, we will define a standard. School leaders and teachers will be able to use it in a complementary way. But let’s just talk about second grade secondary schools. ”

Didactics, even with the possibility of reducing teachers’ minutes of lessons, how much will Covid 19 suffer?
«Teaching is not just taking frontal lessons and notionism. In September we will experiment with innovative forms of education that even in Italy some institutes have been using for years and with satisfaction ».

One last question, minister. The staggered entrances. His colleague Speranza also spoke to our newspaper: who will actually decide the entry times? For those with more children to accompany to school, is there no risk of aggravating families even more?
«The staggered entrances are used to avoid overcrowding not only in front of the schools, but also on the means of transport. We will organize ourselves trying to avoid inconvenience as much as possible and by working for age groups. “

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