In a press conference yesterday, the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry for Education and Employment, Frank Fabri, and the Superintendent of Public Health, Professor Charmaine Gauci announced the health guidelines to the educational sector for the re-opening of primary and secondary schools in Malta.
As the Minister for Education had previously stated, most children will head back to their classrooms on the 28th September, after an unexpected six-month closure.
Below are the main points from the document, while you can read it in full by CLICKING HERE
- Maximum efforts should be made to maintain an adequate physical distance of 1.5 metres between students.
- Mixing of students should be minimized as much as possible.
- Children over 3 years of age should be advised to wear masks and/or visors in the common areas and on school transport but this is not necessary within their own classrooms or when they are in the presence of the members of the same bubble/cluster. At senior/secondary school level (for students born in 2009 or earlier), it is recommended that students wear masks and/or visors at all times, including in their class, besides in common areas and on transport. Exceptions to the wearing of mask or visors is when students are exercising.
- Staff members are required to wear a face mask and/or visor at all times when in the presence of others (both other staff/ students).
- Considerations must be made for all staff members in staff rooms to keep an adequate physical distance of two metres from other staff members. It must be ensured that in staff rooms, adequate care is taken to avoid mixing of staff members and where desks are used for corrections, persons always maintain the requisite social distance. If a system of ‘hot desking’ is in operation, each person should be responsible to clean the surfaces and shared electronics with suitable agents before and after use. Meetings should be held virtually wherever possible.
- Secondary school children generally move around classes depending on their subjects of choice. Very accurate records would need to be kept of the movements of students at all times in order to facilitate contract tracing by the Public Health authorities should there be a COVID-19 positive case. This information would be used when carrying out the risk assessment by the Health Authorities.
- Similarly carrying out lessons outdoors dilutes the presence of the viral particles in the air thus contact tracing would consider this as a mitigating factor against spread when considering close contacts who should be placed in quarantine.
- Recommend shorter duration of lessons to reduce accumulating exposure between students.
- Enforce the policy of staying home if unwell for both students and staff members.
- In such a situation of sustained community spread of coronavirus, one must view the guidance for educational institutions as being bi-directional, on occasion partial/full school closures may need to be instituted with learning continuing by virtual means until it is possible to resume in-person learning again.