The Ministry of Education has said that a staggered approach will be taken so as to ensure that there is a smooth transition back to school. In a statement the Ministry said that as had been previously announced, educators will return to school on the 28th September.
As to what regards the students themselves, the Ministry said that children and students attending compulsory education in State Schools will not start schooling on the 30th September, 2020 but instead they will start schooling in different dates, according to their year group, over a period of not more than one week starting from the 7th October, 2020. Therefore, while the first day of school will be different according to the respective year group, by the 14th October, all students will be back to school.
The Ministry added that Parents and custodians will be receiving detailed information to this end from the respective schools today.
Meanwhile, the Ministry said, parents and custodians will be given the liberty to choose whether to send their children to school. They will only need to inform the school with their respective decision. Everyone’s decision will be respected and during the scholastic year pre-recorded lessons on the internet (online) will be made available.
Moreover, during the period between the 30th September and the 13th October, the Foundation for Educational Services will be extending its ‘Bridge Holidays’ service between 7:00am and 2:30pm free of charge in all its centres. At the same time, as has been already declared, as from the 30th September, the Foundation for Educational Services will be also offering in its centres the Club 3-16 service from 2:30pm until 6:00 pm.
We believe that quality education for our children is best delivered in person, in schools.
The Ministry said that this is confirmed by experts in education, both local and foreign, and by health authorities in Malta and abroad further stating that “it is therefore our duty to provide this quality education, that is in person, in schools.”
The Education Ministry highlighted that Covid-19 led to the greatest disruption in education which we have experienced on a global level in recent history, adding that “must continue the educational journey for all students in class at this important juncture.”
We are committed to re-open our schools.
The guidelines for the re-opening of schools issued by the health authorities, after consultation with the Ministry for Education and Employment and other social partners on the 2nd of September 2020 declare that it is imperative that schools reopen for the next scholastic year. Children should return to their education during the coronavirus outbreak, as students are likely to suffer from the greatest harm if they do not attend to school.
In the past weeks and months, the Ministry made sure that all measures prescribed in the guidelines for the re-opening of schools are adhered to. It was decided, before the re-opening of schools, independent risk assessors, registered with OHSA, inspect each and every school to certify whether prescribed measures were successfully implemented in each school. The Ministry did that to make sure that all measures prescribed by the health authorities were undertaken for the benefit of all students, educators, parents and employees in schools. The Ministry appealed for the co-operation of all those involved so that all measures are adhered to at all times.
MUT notes Government decision and welcomes postponement of reopening of schools for students
In a reaction to this news, the Malta Union of Teachers, MUT, said that it had requested the postponement to enable schools to adjust to the demands brought about by the protocol and to give sufficient time to sort pending issues.
The MUT welcomes the decision on the staggering of student intake. This has been requested by the MUT during the meetings held in the past weeks. Staggering shall enable schools to control better the implementation of the protocol and to adjust the practices being adopted to safeguard the health and safety of educators and students.
The MUT said that the period when educators shall be reporting at schools prior to the intake of students shall serve so that educators continue their preparations for this scholastic year, particularly those of a curricular and pedagogical nature. The implementation of the protocol shall impact the work of educators and hence preparations and coordination is necessary. In this sense, the MUT’s role will be essential so that specific issues within schools are identified by members in order to be addressed. For this aim later today the MUT will issue an online form to be filled in by members in which they will be encouraged to send their feedback.
Consequently next week the MUT shall be monitoring the ongoings and shall be assisting schools and members in ensuring that schools adopt the requested health and safety measures. The union shall also be flagging shortcomings to be addressed prior to the intake of students. The MUT has just communicated with respective employers in church and independent schools to request similar adjustment.
The MUT reiterates its call for the Government takes concrete actions to control the pandemic. The MUT had made the request repeatedly in the past weeks and this was also the spirit of the discussion with social partners during the MCESD meeting. The request was also made by MUT during the meeting with the Government earlier this week.
Finally, the MUT would like to assure its members that the Union will be with them during this difficult time for all and will do its utmost to continue protecting the health and safety of educators, students and everyone.