The Malta Independent 28 September 2020, Monday

UPE calls for online lessons for schools reopening, threatens industrial action if request denied

Wednesday, 16 September 2020, 11:58 Last update: about 11 days ago

The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of the Workers has called on Prime Minister Robert Abela to consider the closure of physical attendance in schools and to revert to online lessons for the reopening of schools.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UPE said that it is concerned at the increased numbers of Covid-19 positive cases.

The statement came after sources told this newsroom that around 100 new positive Covid-19 cases are expected to be announced this afternoon – a figure which would be far above the record number of 78 cases in a single day (which was last Sunday).

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“The situation is unsustainable and with the opening of schools on the 28th of September 2020, the number of cases will definitely increase to unsustainable numbers thus putting a burden on our health care system”, the UPE said in a statement.

“The Union is therefore requesting officially the Prime Minister to consider the closure of physical attendance in schools, and to revert to online lessons as proposed by the UPE last August.”

The Union said that it reserves the right to issue industrial action on its members if this request is denied within the coming days.

Health authorities have issued guidelines for the reopening of schools, with the most recent being those pertaining to kindergartens - where amongst other things children will not be allowed to take personal toys with them to Kindergarten while class sizes will be capped at 15 and 19 people for Kinder 1 and 2 respectively - and post-secondary schools - where online teaching and learning should either be complementary to class teaching or actually replace contact teaching.

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