Schools will open their doors tomorrow despite a teachers’ strike because the health authorities haven’t called for their closure, Education Minister Justyne Caruana has said.
“We work hand in hand with the health authorities and act according to their advice,” Caruana told TVM shortly after the Malta Union of Teachers announced a two-day strike in protest at the government’s refusal to close schools in light of a spike in coronavirus cases.
“They didn’t advise us to close schools so they’ll reopen tomorrow, ready to welcome our children with all the protocols to safeguard health.”
She also warned that online learning carried out at schools over the past year wasn’t always up to scratch.
“I don’t think its an issue of online lessons but of opening schools on the basis of the advice of heath authorities.”
Caruana’s statement contradicts MUT president Marco Bonnici’s claim that the health authorities have advised the education authorities to keep schools closed. Although Bonnici didn’t clarify who exactly from the health authorities lent this advice, he confirmed it wasn’t Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci.
“The education authorities shouldn’t have ignored the health authorities’ advice for schools to reopen as though there isn’t a problem,” Bonnici said. “COVID-19 cases are increasing and we don’t yet know what the impact of the new virus variant will be.”
The Nationalist Party has come out in support of the teacher strike, with Opposition leader Bernard Grech accusing Prime Minister Robert Abela of risking the health of students, teachers, parents and school staff.