“Action necessary to reduce COVID-19 spread before schools reopen” – MAPSSS

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Maltese Association of Parents of State School Students, MAPSSS, believes that the necessary actions need to be taken to control the spread of COVID-19 before schools re-open.

The measures taken so far have not been effective enough said MAPSSS and further questions if it would be premature to open schools on September 30th and asks whether the protocols issued on 2nd September are considered sufficiently effective to safeguard the wellbeing of students and staff in schools and whether the implementation of these protocols would be finalised by the end of the month.

Should the current situation lead to schools using online learning, each school should make it known to the parents which single online platform has been chosen for online schooling, said the association.

The association has also raised its concerns regarding a system that requires working parents to stay at home to assist their children in homeschooling and that this needs to be discussed with the Employer’s Associations to ensure that parents are given the opportunity to telework, where possible and that no disciplinary action is taken against the parents in circumstances where teleworking is not possible, suggested MAPSSS.

It was also mentioned that disadvantaged and marginalised children, including children in low-income families and migrant children in open centres, have access to the necessary hardware and software, as well as internet access, to benefit from proper schooling.

“In view of the negative impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health, as suggested in several academic research papers, a mental healthcare support unit should be organised specifically to support the students, including through home visits by trained personnel for checks, assessment and eventually intervention,” said MAPSSS.

MAPSSS has also asked that children of frontline personnel and educators are being provided with adequate daycare and appropriate organisation to allow them to follow their curricula during their parents’ or their legal guardians working hours.

The Maltese Association of Parents of State School Students reiterated that in view of the current uncertainties brought about by COVID-19, the mandatory introduction of new uniforms in KG1, YR1, YR7 and YR9 should be postponed, as some parents are experiencing financial pressures related to the pandemic.