The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

UPE calls for delay to reopening of schools until measures reflect public health guidelines

Friday, 25 September 2020, 09:30 Last update: about 26 days ago

The Union of Professional Educators has called on the government to delay the reopening of schools until the measures taken are more in line with Public Health guidelines.  

UPE – Voice of the Workers said it is highly concerned about the rising numbers in Covid-19 cases and deaths seen in the past week and feels that this would not be a propitious moment in time to reopen schools safely. The union said it feels that this is especially so in view of the fact that schools “are not ready to confront such a serious, and potentially life-threatening, situation as the one being presented by this pandemic.” 


“Never before has the union felt the need to urge that schools remain closed more than at this moment in time. The amount of stress our educators are being subjected to, due to the uncertainty behind the reopening of schools, is way too high for any of them to be able perform adequately. The simple fact that the union felt the need to issue the four procedural requests issued yesterday only confirms how unprepared to safeguard our educators and students, the educational system currently is.”

Reactions from both members and parents further corroborated these concerns expressed by the UPE, it said.

“It is evident that much more still needs to be done to safeguard not only the educators and the students, but anyone else who may be affected, as a result, outside the school system. As things stand, the numbers are way too high, and incomplete measures would only pose a threat on society at large: a threat which has made the possible irremediable consequences of infection stand out as our most vulnerable members of society are passing away daily, in utter solitude.”

The union asked how the ministry can accept to burden the consciences of people with the thought of possibly passing on this virus to the vulnerable members of society, knowing full well that more still needs to be done to reasonably mitigate the spread of the virus.

“How can the ministry allow schools to open when, with the current measures in place, a safe reopening is a far cry from the health and safety measures required to at least minimise infection?”

“One does not build a plane while flying it, and our educators should not be put in a position where due to the procrastination of the ministry, they are expected to start off a school year knowing that they are not as adequately protected as they should be in their place of work.”

UPE has thus formally requested the Ministry to reconsider reopening schools for the time being, and to delay the reopening until the measures taken are more in line with the requirements of the time, in terms of preventative measures.


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