The return to in-person classes at higher education institutions across Portugal began on Monday, April 19, the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, has announced.
According to a press release published on the government’s website, the minister will visit the University of Porto, the Institute Polytechnic of Porto, and the University of Aveiro, where the “CVP testing program – Higher Education” will be carried out.
Since April 12, 2021, the CVP Testing Program has begun by screening for COVID-19 among students, researchers, teachers, and other members at higher education institutions through rapid antigen tests.
The “CVP testing program – Higher Education” advanced by the Directorate-General for Higher Education (DGES) and the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) in coordination with the Portuguese Red Cross (CVP) is offered to higher education institutions, including those private and public, as well as to institutions dealing with scientific work.
The press release highlighted that several rapid antigen tests had been made available by the program, while institutions will not be required to make any payment after receiving the tests.
So far, 66,000 supplies have been delivered, and institutions will continue to receive more supplies every week as the program is a new dynamic one that is still developing.
Besides testing students, the release emphasized that since face-to-face lessons have started in higher education institutions, thousands of students will now be allowed to return to their institutions.
In order to ensure a safe and responsible return, the departments have developed strategies for the effective implementation of plans in the past few days.
Most recently, Portugal notified that around 75,000 students would benefit from scholarships offered by the country for higher education students, an increased number of student recipients by four percent. The government stated that the increase took place in an attempt to soften the COVID-19 impact.
Similar to Portugal, several universities in countries worldwide have gradually begun allowing students to return to their universities and start in-person classes, whereas some others have decided to provide hybrid degree programs as long as the virus is still present.
In February, the University of Minnesota Rochester notified its students that they would be able to pursue a mixed bachelor’s degree program with online and in-person instruction.
In the meantime, public universities in Catalonia have opened for first-year students, whereas in March, the University of Florida held its commencement ceremony after more than one year of holding only online activities.