New Education Minister Clifton Grima has expressed confidence that schools will be able to reopen next month despite a surge in COVID-19 cases that has left several thousands of people quarantined.
“As a father, I believe that the education of children involves a number of aspects, primary of which is that they should attend school physically,” Grima said on TVAM this morning. “That is a point I feel I must make as a father.”
“On the other hand, the current health reality obliges us to be careful, to work hand in hand with the health authorities and follow all the necessary protocols.”
“We’ve overcome these challenges in the past and I’m convinced that we can reopen schools, as per the protocols and directions that the health authorities give us.”
Moreover, he said it’s important to keep in mind that COVID-19 situations may vary across different schools and that the vaccine has given the nation a “new ally in the fight for normality” that it didn’t have last year.
“Our target is for schools to open. Along with the health authorities, school administrations and educator representatives, we will move step by step because we believe that children belong in school.”
Malta Union of Teachers president Marco Bonnici recently said that while the union has yet to take a stance on whether schools should reopen or not, the sheer number of COVID-19 cases and quarantined people would “severely impact” school operations.
“Teachers are in quarantine, others unwell and, at the same time, some students will be at home while others are in class,” Bonnici told Times of Malta.
“If we had to reopen schools today, with the numbers we have, the operation would be severely impacted both because of the lack of people as well as the other disruptions with hybrid systems.”
The Union of Professional Educators has yet to take a stance either, but its executive head Graham Sansone said earlier this week that “D Day for the UPE to decide” is approaching.
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