MUT requests postponement of physical reopening of schools

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Malta Union of Teachers, MUT, is urging the government to not re-open schools and educational institutions to protect the health of educators, students and their families.

During a press conference early Wednesday afternoon, the MUT said that it understands that all the country is currently waiting anxiously for more information on the way forward about the reopening of schools and that the union has been pushing for protocols and measures since March but these protocols, by the Health authorities, only started being published as from the beginning of September with kindergarten and post-secondary protocols published only on Tuesday.

It was also stated that the MUT Council has, this morning, unanimously voted to:

  • request postponement of the physical reopening of all educational institutions including State, Church, independent, pre-compulsory, compulsory, post-secondary and tertiary. The MUT is hereby making the formal request to the Government
  • request certification of schools by competent authorities before it can accept students. Schools need to be certified as compliant with the respective protocol

The Union said it is limiting its position to the above measures but in view of the developing situation, it shall be issuing further updates in the coming days.

“It is ultimately the employers’ responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their staff and their students. The Union’s role in all this is to make sure this is upheld,” said MUT.

During the press confernce the MUT explained that it has also proposed many other measures which are currently being discussed to seek solutions rather than just pointing out problems. All this is being done with the understanding that educators want to go back to school, but with the right measures and safeguards in place to protect everyone concerned. If not, it does not exclude escalating measures accordingly, said the Malta Union of Teachers.

The MUT is currently engaged with employers to understand how the measures announced by the government are going to be implemented in reality before a final position is taken.

“There are many issues with which we are not happy at all. There are still too many unanswered questions by employers and the risk of having a spike in new COVID-19 cases with disastrous consequences as soon as schools reopen is real. As things stand, schools are simply not ready to reopen and solutions are lacking,” said the union

In its appeals to the government, the MUT has made it clear that it is the Government’s responsibility to take measures so that the pandemic is under control, as this affects the re-opening plans.

Govt should revert to online lessons – UPE

The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of The Workers is concerned at the increasing numbers of COVID-19 positive cases. In a statement released on Wednesday the UPE stated that the situation is unsustainable and with the opening of schools on the 28th of September 2020, the number of cases will defiantly increase to unsustainable numbers thus putting a burden on our health care system.

The UPE is therefore requesting officially the Prime Minister to consider the closure of physical attendance in schools and to revert to online lessons as proposed by the UPE last August. 

The union said it reserves the right to issue industrial action on its members if this request is denied within the coming days.