With schools around Malta set to reopen next month for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Minister Owen Bonnici has said he agrees with a novel idea introduced in other European countries to contain the spread of the virus.
The idea, which has been adopted by the likes of Denmark and Northern Ireland, would see schools reopen normally but with students in whole-class ‘bubbles’, meaning that children will spend their whole days with their class group, including in break.
This could mean staggered starts and ends to the day, to ensure parents don’t drop off and pick up their children at the same time, and staggered break times, so children don’t flock to the playground all at once.
Secondary schools will be more flexible as students will have to move classes depending on their choice of subjects, yet schools are encouraged to keep these movements to an “absolute minimum”.
“I found this article about what our Northern Irish colleagues are planning to do with regards schools to be very interesting,” Bonnici said. “I really agree with the content of this article; our children deserve the best education possible.”
Fresh guidelines were published last week detailing three different scenarios for schools that vary according to how the COVID-19 situation in Malta progresses. Teachers and LSEs were asked to adapt their syllabus should all students return to schools come September, if attendance is alternating or if education must occur online for the new scholastic year.
Health Minister Chris Fearne said last weekend it’s still too early to know if schools will open this September but that the reopening of schools is crucial for the education of children and for the economy, because their parents need to go to work.
Do you agree with the ‘classroom bubble’ model for the reopening of schools?