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COVID-19 | Progressive lifting of containment measures in research and education institutions

Considering the possible lifting, from the beginning of May 2020, of the "State of Emergency" decreed by the Portuguese Government, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (MCTES) has issued a note (see here) of recommendations for scientific and higher education institutions, which will have to develop plans for the progressive lifting of the containment measures currently in place.

In the document, some indications are highlighted, such as the compliance with the recommendations of the competent health authorities and the technical standards in force; the guarantee of social distancing conditions and the use by all of individual protection equipment; the adoption of distance teaching and learning processes and teleworking, promoting, whenever possible, their gradual and effective combination with face-to-face activities.

These indications should be a priority for the return to normal operation of the structures of the national science and technology system, namely R&D units, laboratories, physical, technological, cultural and performing arts, medical, veterinary and biological infrastructures.

Distance learning, teleworking and meetings by videoconference, especially those involving people from risk groups, should also continue to be promoted. Special mention should be made here of the set of services provided by the FCT, through its National Scientific Computing Unit (FCCN), namely COLIBRI, NAU and EDUCAST, which have been essential supports to ensure distance teaching and learning and teleworking.

The document also points out that the implementation of these plans is subject to the amendment of the current State of Emergency.