Over 4,000 study trips to Malta cancelled in 3 weeks

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Over 4,000 cancellations have been made by English Language students from Italy and France in the past three weeks after both governments specifically banned travel for education, a spokesperson for FELTOM has told Newsbook.com.mt.

Newsbook.com.mt contacted the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations (FELTOM) asking whether instructions were issued to English Language Schools and whether teachers working in the industry have a right to refuse to be in contact with students returning from affected countries.

Speaking to Newsbook.com.mt, FELTOM CEO James Perry said that they are keeping close contact with their member organisations. Supported by the ELT Council, the federation is keeping the industry up to date with the latest news and information on covid-19. Additional meetings were held with the Ministry of Health in order to be better informed and equipped with the best information at hand.

‘Accepting students remains at the sole discretion of the schools’

Asked whether teachers are obliged to accept students returning from affected countries, Perry said that the federation cannot impose any obligations. However, they are making sure all schools and their respective teachers remain well-informed with the latest updates.

“But accepting students remains at the sole discretion of the schools,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Education Ministry told Newsbook.com.mt, that the ELT Council, a regulatory body for ELT Schools and which forms part of the Ministry has advised all English language teaching schools to follow directives issued by the health authorities at all times.

Self-quarantine, unlike mandatory quarantine, cannot be enforced

Asked whether there were specific instructions when students do not observe self-quarantine, Perry pointed out that this cannot be enforced.

“We are aware that member schools are taking all the necessary cautionary measures to ensure the safety and well-being of their teaching staff and students,” he said.

4,000 study trips cancelled

For commercial reasons, FELTOM could not divulge data on how many groups of students from affected countries were received by each of its members. However, Perry said that from the data collated in a survey commissioned by the federation, there were over 4,000 cancellations in the past three weeks from Italy and France ever since both governments had banned travel for educational purposes.

Fifth coronavirus case in Malta

On Tuesday afternoon, the health authorities said that a fifth person had tested positive to coronavirus in Malta. The first three cases involve an Italian family who had travelled to Italy. Upon their return to Malta they were in self-quarantine until their 12-year-old daughter developed symptoms associated with coronavirus on Saturday. Her parents then tested positive. The fourth case was announced on Monday evening and involves a patient who travelled to Trentino Alto Adige in Italy between 23 and 27 February with his family. While his 16-year-old daughter tested positive to the virus on Tuesday, his partner did not.

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