Independent schools insist on immediate publication of national Covid-19 guidelines

The Independent Schools’ Association called for the national authorities to issue their Covid-19 guidelines governing schools, stating that time was running out if Malta is to prepare effectively for the next academic year.

In a statement, the association said that independent schools had worked tirelessly to prepare for the schools’ reopening, creating various alternative scenarios that could take place. By the end of July, all independent schools had their plans in place, but in light of the ongoing spike in Covid-19 cases, they have been forced to re-evaluate them.

It emphasised the need to bring down the RT factor (R number) – the average number of people an infected person is expected to transmit the virus to – in the coming weeks, stating that it was crucial if there was any real chance of schools reopening physically. It emphasised that it was the primary responsibility of the government to issue and monitor the necessary measures, and of all citizens and entities to comply.

“Any school reopening can only occur if all entities and citizens of Malta realise that there is a strong correlation between decreasing the RT factor and its transmission rate within the community, and the safe reopening of schools. It is only by responding to the current spike in proactive, responsible and effective ways that we will be able to enjoy the return to physical schooling,” the ISA maintained.

It said that while it was aware that work on national guidelines concerning schools was in process, time was running out, and the guidelines needed to be issued immediately.

These guidelines, according to the association, needed to stipulate whether physical distancing is recommended in classrooms, transport considerations and the composure of bubbles/clusters, if this is to be the indicated way forward.

“Otherwise, schools may have to take their own decisions on how to proceed,” it added.