Schools should not succumb to unnecessary panic over the coronavirus after the first case of the virus was confirmed in Malta, the country’s teachers’ unions have said.
The Malta Teachers’ Union said it has received confirmation from the health and educational authorities that the 12-year-old girl who contracted the virus and her sister hadn’t attended school since their return to Malta from a family holiday to Northern Italy.
“MUT appeals for responsibility at this stage. The affected student and her sibling are part of a school community and they shall remain part of it,” the union said. “As educators we must be supportive and united to overcome this situation whilst taking all necessary precautions.”
The Union of Professional Educators urged its members not to succumb to “unnecessary panic and alarmism” and to verify any information prior to acting inappropriately.
“The union, on its part, is ensuring that it follows all communications and instructions coming directly from our health authorities, to ensure that adequate measures and instructions are issued promptly should the need arise,” it said. “Members are thus encouraged to follow our updates to ensure that they are aware of any instructions the UPE may deem necessary to follow. For any queries about the virus itself the Ministry of Health has created the freephone number 111, where professionals in the field will be happy to assist and guide callers.”
Both unions have issued strong directives to prevent the potential spread of the virus, including refusing to assign and correct homework to sick students, refusing to keep sick students in class and not attending mass gatherings such as mass or school assemblies.