PN Birkirkara councillor and teacher Justin Schembri has urged private schools to think seriously about the implications on working parents before moving to a completely online system of teaching.
“Although everyone knows my position, that schools should be the last to close down, a number of independent schools are operating completely online without taking into consideration those parents who cannot remain at home with their children,” Schembri wrote.
He warned that working parents whose jobs cannot be done remotely face one of four options if their children’s schools move online.
The first option is for them to quit their jobs and risk ending up in a precarious financial situation. Alternatively, they can leave their children with their grandparents or third parties, which goes against COVID-19 advice, or at home alone, which goes against the law.
Their final option is to pull their children out of school altogether, away from their school friends, and enrol them in a state school instead.
“Why don’t we have solutions?” Schembri asked. “Why aren’t we doing our utmost to protect schools ahead of all other activities?”
Amidst a rise in COVID-19 cases, both teachers’ unions, the Malta Union of Teachers and the Union of Professional Educators, has urged the government to move to a fully online system of learning.
Schools were kept open in the latest raft of COVID-19 measures, but contact sport among school-age children was banned as a means of minimising the risk of children getting infected out of school.