The Malta Independent 14 April 2021, Wednesday

MUT hopes that return to schools will not cause another spike in Covid cases

Bettina Borg Wednesday, 7 April 2021, 13:25 Last update: about 6 days ago

The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) hopes that the return to in-school teaching will not cause another spike in Covid-19, after stating on Monday that physical schooling should not be one of the first measures to be relaxed after 11th April. 

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The MUT released a statement on the matter on Wednesday afternoon, immediately following the news that in-person teaching will resume beginning from 12th April.

It hopes that the return of students and educators to school will not “danger the health of everyone, and make schools unsustainable to operate”.

Despite the MUT’s dissatisfaction with schools reopening, it said that “the decisions and the responsibility of the re-opening of schools is ultimately made by the government”.

It stated that it wished to see groups of students trickling into school one by one, rather than hoards of students brought together at once.

“The MUT is stating that there needs a wise staggering of re-admission into school, meaning that different groups from the same school should come in one day after the other so that a number of students are brought together across a range of days”, it stated.

It is ready to discuss details of a gradual re-entry process with Minister for Education Justyne Caruana.  

Additionally, it is prepared to hold discussions with Caruana about restrictive measures to ensure that exams, including SEC and MATSEC exams, will take place in 2021.

It expressed its concern, however, that there are many educators who have “not received an appointment for their first vaccine dose, while the appointments for the second doses will start this coming May”.

“Let us not forget that with the variant, there are children who are transmitting the virus in large numbers, and as we know children under 16 years of age are not being vaccinated”, it said.

It concluded its statement by thanking all educators for their hard work under the current circumstances.

On Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that schools will be re-opening on 12th April, starting with childcare centres, kindergarten and primary school. On 14th April, middleschools will open; while 16th April will mark the opening of secondary schools.

Last Monday, the MUT cautioned against the physical re-opening of schools as one of the first measures to be relaxed, expressing their concern with large numbers of students and teachers being in the same space for long periods of time.

Its statement clashed with the statement put forward by the Union of Professional Educators (UPE), who said that it was ready to give the green light to the re-opening of schools. UPE chief Graham Sansone said, however, that Minister Caruana should consider shortening break-times of students to minimize the mixing of social bubbles.

 

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