Schools are set to reopen next month but it seems like the majority of educators aren’t exactly keen on the idea.
A survey conducted by the Union of Professional Educators, Malta’s minority teachers’ union, among 1,285 members showed that 87% would rather schools return to an online learning system next month.
Meanwhile, 81.5% said they wouldn’t feel comfortable in a room full of children and 86% said they wouldn’t feel comfortable sending their own children to school.
“This is a big problem and educators know that children are suffering both mentally and psychologically,” UPE executive head Graham Sansone said in an interview with Lovin Daily. “Learning isn’t just just from textbooks but is also about the social dynamic. However, we’re living in a new normal and parents have called us up to express their concerns about sending their children to school.”
“They’re also worried about the lack of social interaction but as it stands people would rather sideline social and emotional fears and focus on health concerns… it’s a big problem.”
Sansone admitted that online learning comes with its own problems, such as the fact that students could very well be playing games in the background when they’re supposed to be in class.
However, he compared this to students who have their head in the clouds during physical lessons, their minds wandering off to the football match they’ll have planned during break.
The solution, he argued, was for teachers to engage their students even more during online lessons.
“Educators cannot just send students work for an entire week…parents aren’t educators after all.”
As for when it will be safe for schools to reopen, Sansone said the government must stick with the benchmark it adopted last March, when it closed down schools after the country reached nine active COVID-19 cases. That is a far cry from the current situation, with the country currently confirming 699 active cases.
“The situation could change and the numbers could decline drastically and the curve could flatten,” he said. “We want schools to reopen, but they’re essentially a mass gathering.”