Implementing school reopening measures ‘a huge challenge,’ MUT warns

Updated 08:24 PM

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A huge challenge is ahead if the pandemic-related measures concerning the reopening of schools are to be implemented in time, according to the Malta Union of Teachers.

In a reaction to the new measures, which were announced in a press conference in the afternoon, the MUT said that the publication of the measures was only “the first step of a long journey.”

“The protocols will require intensive discussions to be implemented,” the union said. “This will be a huge challenge, and the process ahead will be crucial to safeguarding the health and safety of educators and students alike.’

The MUT said that it was involved in discussions with all parties, including church and independent schools, to ensure that the measures would be properly implemented.

It reiterated its stance on the reopening of schools; that it all depended on the implementation of the measures as well as the way the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds in the coming weeks. It pledged to keep in touch with its members, to listen to their concerns and address their queries.

Details lacking, minister unprepared – PN

In its own reaction, the Nationalist Party welcomed the measures, but noted that with the reopening of schools just few weeks away, the Education Minister still lacked a clear and detailed implementation plan.

“The lack of preparation is causing anxiety among parents, school leadership and teachers, who are not cut off from the reality of classrooms and schools, the party’s education spokesman Clyde Puli said.

He echoed the MUT’s assertion that the publication of the measures was just the first step leading to the reopening of schools, and that a detailed and serious implementation plan must now follow.

Such a plan, he added, could only happen through proper dialogue with all stakeholders, and not simple information sessions on what is a fait accompli.

“Obvious significant discrepancies” – UPE

The Union of Professional Educators  – Voice of the Workers (UPE) has stated that upon reading the document, it became obvious that there were significant discrepancies between the published guidelines and that said during the press conference. 

The union added that it intends to ensure that clarification on these discrepancies is sought and provided as soon as possible. The entire document is expected to be discussed internally in all its minute details to ensure that its members’ health, as well as that of educators nationwide, is safeguarded.

UPE also remarked that the content of the guidelines was not revealed to the union until it was published and that at no point, has the union agreed, to reopen schools to the detriment of vulnerable educators or children. Neither will it ever agree with any guidelines which might put these members of our communities at risk. 

“If the state refuses to protect our more vulnerable educators, the UPE will take a stance in strong opposition to that of the state, to safeguard these educators, these people, at all cost,” the union concluded.