Tag: Schools

Portugal to ban domestic travel, close schools around national holidays

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal is to ban domestic travel and close schools around two upcoming holidays in a bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus ahead of Christmas, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective mask speaks with a driver of a tram during the coronavirus outbreak in downtown Lisbon, Portugal, October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

Travel between municipalities will be banned from 11 p.m. on Nov. 27 to 5 a.m. on Dec. 2, and then again from 11 p.m. on Dec. 4 to 5 a.m. on Dec. 9, to prevent movement around national holidays on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.

Schools will close on the Mondays before both holidays, while businesses must close early. Employers are being encouraged to give workers the day off in order to minimise travel activity.

“We continue to have a very high number of cases which is a threat to our health,” Costa told a press conference. “We must persist to not only halt that growth rate but invert it.”

Masks, already mandatory in public and enclosed commercial spaces, are now also mandatory in the workplace, Costa said. Checks will increase to ensure that those who can are working remotely.

A night-time curfew and weekend lockdown after 1 p.m. in 191 municipalities since Nov. 9 will continue in 174 municipalities with particularly high infection rates for a further two weeks.

Portugal reported 62 deaths and 6,472 cases of coronavirus on Saturday, mostly in the north of the country, bringing the total infections to 255,970 cases, with 3,824 deaths.

The number of cases has increased significantly since late September, with average daily rates rising from around 300 in the summer to 6,000 in recent weeks despite testing only increasing approximately three-fold, health ministry data shows.

The country, with around 10 million people, ranks seventh in Europe for the number of cumulative cases per 100,000 people and 14th for the number of new deaths, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control figures.

(This story fixes incorrect advisory line to conform with final paragraph, making clear that Portugal ranks seventh in Europe for cases and 14th for deaths)

Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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Diwali vacation for schools cut short to five days

The education department has announced that the Diwali vacation for schools has been cut down to five days as opposed to the usual 21 days. The state school education department has declared November 12 to 16 as Diwali vacation.

According to the government notification issued on Thursday (November 5) schools are instructed not to conduct online lectures or examinations during the Diwali break.

The vacation has been cut short to complete the syllabus in the remaining academic year, which has already been affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the circular said. According to the rules, it is mandatory to have 230 work days in an academic year.

“As per the Secondary School Code, the number of holidays in schools every year cannot be more than 76 days. Similarly, teaching days have been set at 200 days for Class 1 to 5 and 220 days for Class 6 to 8. With a view of completing the school curriculum in this academic year, the Diwali vacation for this year will be from November 12 to 16,” the notification said.

Schools were shifted to online learning in March this year due to the COVID-19 lockdown and reportedly teachers are upset with the decision. They have complained, questioning why they can’t have a 21 day break as is the traditional holiday schedule during Diwali. Teachers are upset and have complained that they have hardly got any time off ever since online classes started. This year, teachers did not receive the entitled holidays during summer and Ganesh Chaturthi festival due to the online classes.

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Diwali vacation for schools across Maharashtra cut down to 4 days, govt cites delayed start to academic year as reason

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© Provided by The Indian Express

DIWALI VACATION for schools across the state has been cut down to four days, as compared to the usual 18 days. The state school education department on Thursday, through a government notification, announced that the Diwali vacation will be from November 12 to 16.

The vacation has been cut short from the point of view of completing the syllabus in the remaining academic year, which has already suffered a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the notification said.

Schools and junior colleges have been instructed not to conduct any online lecture or examination during the four days.

Even as guidelines for starting online education for students across government schools were released on June 15, inadequate infrastructure to conduct online classes and lack of access to devices among large numbers of students in remote areas have been major challenges in this academic year. Teaching has not been possible online. A decision to physically start schools will be taken after Diwali, said state Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad.

Prashant Redij, secretary of Mumbai Principals Association, said it would have been better if the government had not announced a decision on the matter at all. “One can understand that the vacation needs to be cut short due to the Covid situation, but the current period is far too short,” he said.

According to the rules for primary schools, it is mandatory to have 230 work days in an academic year. For Classes I to V, teachers are required to work for a minimum of 200 days in an academic year, whereas for Classes VI to VII, 220 work days are mandatory.

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Diwali vacation for schools in Maharashtra from Nov 12-16

MUMBAI: Much to the displeasure of teachers, the education department on Thursday announced that schools would break for Diwali only for five days as opposed to the usual 21 days. The education department has declared November 12 to 16 as Diwali vacation when schools will have to suspend online learning as well.

Teachers groups from across the state had demanded that the school education department announce dates for Diwali vacation. Teachers had complained that they hadn’t got a break ever since online classes began in March as a the Covid-19 resultant lockdown began. School education minister, Varsha Gaikwad had assured teachers that a Diwali vacation would be announced and schools would also be instructed to not conduct examination during the festival period.

In a government resolution issued on Thursday, the education department said, “As per the rules of the Secondary School Code, the total number of holidays each academic year cannot exceed 76 days. For classes I to V, the number of working days should be at least 200 while that for class VI to VIII must be at least 220. With a view of completing the school curriculum in this academic year, the Diwali vacation for this year will be from November 12 to 16.” While many private and non-state board schools follow their own schedules for Diwali break, these days will be applicable to government and aided schools in the state.

Teachers are however very upset with the government’s decision. “This year, there were online classes even during summer vacation and also through Ganeshostav. Hence students and teachers have been constantly glued to their mobile phones or laptops. When the schools can have up to 76 days off, why can’t the government allow the traditional 21 days break for Diwali,” said Shivnath Darade of Maharashtra Shikshak Parishad.

Similarly, Rajesh Pandya from the Teachers Democratic Front said, “Irrespective of the pandemic, the academic year started around the right time (June 15) at most schools. Hence, reducing the Diwali vacation is unfair.”

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Diwali vacation for schools in Gujarat from Oct 29 to Nov 18

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© Provided by The Indian Express

Putting speculations to rest over resuming of schools before Diwali, the state government on Tuesday announced a 21-day Diwali vacation for schools from October 29 to November 18.

The vacation will be applicable to all schools affiliated to the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB), said an order issued to all district education officers by the Board on Tuesday. “Amid the prevailing Covid pandemic situation, regular teaching work could not be started. Thus, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board could not finalise the academic calendar for schools. With this, it became important to clarify vacations for the staff. Like every year, Diwali vacation has been decided for 21 days from October 29 till November 18,” the order said.

Schools have been following an academic calendar with 35-day summer vacation and 21-day Diwali vacation. After the state government declined to resume schools from October 15 after Centre’s permission, uncertainty over reopening of schools has been prevailing.

The Diwali vacation will also mean that there will be no new home learning for students. “No new teaching material will be issued or released by the government but already recorded content or material in the form of revision will continue on mediums like DD Girnar, Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG),” said Dinesh Patel, Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) secretary.

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‘Paterson Village’ Announces $2 Million Grant to Academic Support, Counseling Services, Recreation Activities at Two City Schools

PATERSON, NJ  – A $2 million, five year, federal grant awarded to the Paterson Education Fund (PEF) will benefit students at two Paterson public schools, officials announced Thursday at Senator Frank R. Lautenberg School.

The funding, provided through the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program, will be used primarily to provide academic support services, youth recreation activities, and counseling services for students both at the Lautenberg School and at Public Schools No. 15. 

“The announcement we are making today is the embodiment of the phrase, ‘It takes a village,’” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer. “People from all over our village, the City of Paterson, have come together to secure this federal funding and implement programs to help our students academically succeed during these challenging times of the pandemic. This funding provides resources for the dynamic educators and organizations involved to do all they can for our students. I am deeply grateful to everyone who helped secure this funding, and all who will see to its good use.” 

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Shafer’s comments were backed up by no only the presence of U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9) and representatives of the Paterson Education Fund, the Paterson Alliance, the New Destiny Family Success Center, and St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation, but also by the fact that those same non-profits will join together to help implement the grant funded initiatives. 

“As a former educator, I know well that our education system is the cornerstone of society. Wherever we go as a community, as a state, as a country, and as a civilization depends on our commitment to education,” said Rep. Pascrell. “As this virus has upended our communities, protecting an equal playing field for our students is essential. The resources provided by this federal investment will change countless lives and be the start of something of special in Paterson school hallways. There’s nothing more important than that.” 

PEF Executive Director Rosie Grant said that the effort to secure the funding has been collaborative from the start and that all the partners worked together for the past year to build a sustainability plan. “It’s wonderful that this first fruit of our labor will benefit the children and families of Senator Frank Lautenberg and School 15!”

“Everyone wins when we put children at the center,” she added. 

The grant funding will be used to provide students at the two schools with academic supports such as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) enrichment, an afterschool program that will run Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a summer program that will run for approximately four weeks in July.  

“This shows the strength of the Paterson Alliance, with support from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation. We bring together partners – in this case the Paterson Education Fund, New Destiny Family Success Center, St.

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Schools cutting back on April vacation, beer pong isn’t social distancing

Schools around the state are diverging on what to do about April vacation, which is scheduled for the end of the month.

In Concord, April vacation will occur as scheduled, according to Interim Superintendent Frank Bass.

“Teachers, students and parents all need a break!” Bass wrote in an email to families.

Other districts have curtailed or canceled vacation to keep momentum going with online learning since schools remain closed.

The Kearsarge School District scaled back its vacation to give students and teachers Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off, but will resume classes on Thursday April 30.

School officials said they tried to balance consistency with ongoing remote instruction and giving teachers, students and parents a chance to “step back and find some respite.”

Districts in Amherst and Merrimack won’t interrupt classes at all after surveying parents who overwhelmingly favored canceling the vacation, NHPR reported.

State officials say it’s up to local districts to decide to modify their school schedules.

The numbers

New Hampshire has experienced about 200 more COVID-19 cases than Vermont, but infection rates remain far higher in the Green Mountain state, which has about half as many people.

As of Friday, Vermont had detected 679 COVID-19 cases with 24 deaths. About one tenth of one percent of the state’s overall population of 623,989 have been infected.

New Hampshire has identified 885 cases with 22 deaths. Based on New Hampshire’s population of 1.3 million people, that means about .07 % of residents have been affected.

Between 25% and 30% of New Hampshire cases are among health care workers, according to Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette.

Beer pong isn’t social distancing

Despite requests from Dartmouth College and Hanover officials to not return to town after spring break, some Dartmouth students have come back to live off-campus.

In the past few weeks, Deputy Fire Chief Michael Hinsley has been responding to complaints about people neglecting to follow social distancing practices and has been “actively interacting” with students off-campus.

Earlier this week, police responded to a house on Maple Street where a group of Dartmouth students were playing beer pong, according to Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin.

Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said his department hasn’t responded to many complaints in the past few weeks, but when they do, they try to educate residents on best social distancing practices.

Police who see people disobeying the stay-at-home order can issue a civil fine or cite them for a misdemeanor violation, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, but Dennis said he hopes it won’t come to that.

“We are not looking to issue any citations,” he said.

Education funding

Gov. Chris Sununu announced plans for $82 million in federal funding coming into the state to support education. The money will be used to support the shift to remote learning, as well as cleaning schools, school meals and social and emotional support.

He said $9 million will go out in the form of “discretionary grants” to schools that have been

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Weymouth Public Schools cancel April vacation – News – Weymouth News

WEYMOUTH – School officials have officially canceled April school vacation.

Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Curtis-Whipple said the cancellation of the vacation would restore four school days.

“We changed the last day of school to June 19,” she said on Friday, April 10. “It was on June 20.”

The April vacation period, which is April 21-24, also includes Patriots Day, April 20, a state holiday.

Schools have not been in session since March 16 under emergency declarations issued by Gov. Charlie Baker and Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund.

Baker extended the date for schools to remain closed until May 4.

The emergency order exempts school districts from having to fulfill a state law that requires students to attend classes for 185 days.

Curtis-Whipple said administrators determined it would be better for students to complete academic lessons during the April vacation period because they are at home under Baker’s stay-at-home-advisory.

Teachers in all grades have prepared academic lessons for students, which they access by email, websites, and online-video-conference sessions.

“Some students can be given an activity without having to do anything electronically,” Curtis-Whipple said. “Not everybody has the capacity to do online learning.”

School officials recently distributed 600 Chromebooks to students who don’t have computers in their homes, according to Curtis-Whipple.

The school district has created 70 “professional learning communities,” which consist of academic instruction by electronic and non-electronic methods.

Curtis-Whipple said the schools have an optional learning structure for all students to receive instruction under the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s guidelines.

“It’s a suggested learning structure, but it is not mandatory,” she said.

Curtis-Whipple said the structured lesson pattern was created because some parents wanted their children to have a format to follow while completing their studies.

The academic work is intended to keep students engaged with learning. They won’t be graded during this period, according to school officials.

“We have also changed the grading period,” Curtis-Whipple said. “The third term will be extended until the end of the school year on June 19.”

Curtis-Whipple said the school district’s most important priority is to support the students’ social and emotional needs amid their concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

The school district is also providing free bagged lunches at Seach Primary School and Abigail Adams Middle School from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on weekdays.

Some of the food available includes fresh vegetables, milk, whole grain muffins, and cheese sticks, according to Elizabeth Sauro, Weymouth Public Schools food services director.

All students are eligible to receive a free meal under the state and federal requirements of the program.

Curtis-Whipple said 15,000 lunches have been provided to students since the program began March 16.

Additional information about the school lunch program is available online at the school district website: weymouthschools.org.

Curtis-Whipple said the coronavirus pandemic is not delaying plans to construct modular classrooms at the primary schools to accommodate an influx of fifth-graders under a school redistricting plan that takes effect in September.

“The foundation work is being done behind Academy Avenue school

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