The Malta Independent 15 August 2020, Saturday

Talks on school protocols ongoing, but no clear date for publication given

Giulia Magri Friday, 31 July 2020, 13:27 Last update: about 15 days ago

If we publish guidelines straight away, we will be criticised that we did not consult them, if we do not publish them straight away because we are in consultation period, we are criticised for publishing them late, Education Minister Owen Bonnici said when asked about protocols for schools.

Despite the spike in COVID-19 cases, on Monday Bonnici told Parliament that schools will resume this September, with the scholastic year starting on the 28th of that month.

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Many parents and teachers are questioning what will happen come September, what measures will be taken up by schools to safeguard children, teachers and staff from COVID-19.

The Malta Independent asked Education Minister what protocols and measures will be taken up by educational institutions come September.

Bonnici said that discussions are currently ongoing within a working group which is made up of numerous stakeholders, with protocols and measures which will be taken up by schools come this scholastic year being discussed.

"The group has been meeting and discussing any issues brought up during the COVID-19 period. We also now have experience of Skolasajf, the opening of child care centres and the SEC revision classes, from which stakeholders can discuss how these models can be applied to the opening of schools come September."

The minister said that teachers will enter the educational institutions on 28 September, whilst students will begin lessons on 30 September.

When asked whether the Minister has a deadline for when protocols will be announced, Bonnici said that SkolaSajf is currently ongoing and that discussions are ongoing regarding the measures taken on this level.

"We discuss the protocols taken on the educational level of Skolasajf amongst the Health Authorities and the entities, and the same will be done for schools opening in September."

Bonnici commented that the Ministry is criticised either way.

"People comment either way; if we publish the guidelines straight away, we will be criticised that we did not consult them, if we do not publish them straight away because we are in consultation period, we are criticised for publishing them late", he lamented.

He said that the guidelines are being discussed and then will be published, but did not give an indication when that will be.

"We are not working from one day to the next, but we are working on a plan which we announced back in March," explained Bonnici.

 

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