The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of the Workers has received various notifications from its members who expressed their concern over the reopening of schools. The concerns these members have brought up revolved around the reckless disregard, by a significant part of the population, with regards to compliance to the guidelines issued by our health authorities.
In their communication with the union, the members mentioned how despite the repeated recommendations coming from our health authorities, despite the media having been carpeted with reminders of how to implement the mitigation measures, and despite knowing, from experience, what the consequences of mindless disregard of these recommendations can look like, people still went to Gozo in droves to celebrate the New Year, and flocked to Valletta and crowded places like St. George’s Square, all the while not even minimally respecting social distancing, and some even going as far as not wearing a mask.
These are those people who will be in class on Thursday, these are the ones whose children, or siblings, will be in a classroom of 26 students. What our members fear the most is that reopening schools now might actually coincide with the beginning of the first exhibited symptoms following this period of revelry, symptoms which may initially be disregarded and which within a school environment, may as a result, be the cause of the formation of multiple clusters at school.
What the UPE is finding so disconcerting is the complete and utter silence on behalf of the Ministry of Education, which did not even consider consultation with the union in the wake of the events as they unfolded.
The Union of Professional Educators calls upon the Ministry to resort, yet again, to a staggered entry as a measure to mitigate the potential spread of the virus and also recommends that lessons for students whose entry will be delayed, are to begin online until they return to school. In this way one might curb the possible impact of a potential sudden spike in cases resulting from the irresponsibility of some, and protect those who have abided by the recommendations, and have gone to great lengths to do their part controlling the spread of the virus.