The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of the Workers has been following the developments on the latest restrictions and measures taken due to the pandemic.
As a union of educators, the UPE finds one of the measures in particular somewhat perplexing. The number of people in a public space has now been reduced to six, and not adhering to this restriction can result in a 200 Euro fine: so, how can classrooms containing 25 plus people, and who are not standing at a 2m distance from one another, be considered a safe and healthy environment?
Anything above six people in total, in an open space, is being considered a health hazard punishable by law: so why is it that a classroom, containing 4 to 5 times as many people, is not considered equally hazardous?
Furthermore, on TVM.com.mt, in an article published on the 27th of October 2020, Dr. Fearne reportedly claimed “that the maximum number of people who can gather outside is 6 and stressed that what cannot be done outside, should not be done inside in private homes”. So how can it be acceptable for classes to be considered safe, when over two dozen children, followed by a minimum of 2 adults, in a single room, is the norm?
In an interview over the phone with TVM.com.mt, Dr. Fearne even stated that no traditional family gatherings should be considered over the next festive season. So people belonging to a single family cluster are being encouraged from now, not to plan any reunions, and yet in schools, where myriads of clusters are being brought together on a daily basis, five days a week, this same hazard does not seem to exist.
The union is thus left perplexed at the lack of logic which seems to reside behind these measures when considering that schools, where numbers are well in excess of the requirements set by law, seem to be considered immune to the health hazards which are plaguing the rest of our society… but are they?