The new school year is fast approaching, with schools being set to reopen on September 28.
Education Minister Justyne Caruana has recently addressed a news conference in which she announced the new COVID-19 measures for the school year.
Students in Year 8 and under will have to sit 1.5 metres apart, while those in Year 9 and over will have to keep their desks one metre apart.
School assemblies can now be held, but social distancing and bubbles must be respected. The same applies for fieldwork classes, sessions in science labs, PE, and special activities such as classroom birthday celebrations.
Furthermore, lab apparatus and other equipment used in sports and so on will need to be regularly sanitised.
Tuck shops and canteens will be allowed to open, but only pre-packaged items can be sold.
Parents and guardians will not be allowed to attend activities in school for the time being, however, this could change later in the year depending on the spread of the virus.
Kindergarten assistants and LSEs are to wear both a mask and a visor.
Caruana said the authorities’ focus is to have students back in class, but she could not rule out virtual lessons which may be used when necessary.
When it comes to the wearing of masks, students and teachers are to wear them at all times, except while eating and during physical exertion. In the case of kindergarten, children can remove masks while in their class bubble as physical distancing will be encouraged but not expected from them.
One might notice that the aforementioned measures only apply to primary and secondary students. Post-secondary and tertiary students have unfortunately been left in the dark with regards to what will happen this upcoming academic year.
KSU has released a statement calling upon the Health Authorities and Ministry for Education to publish clear and comprehensive guidelines for the University of Malta to follow COVID-19 regulations. They pointed out that throughout the different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, University students were given little to no clarity on any established plans to re-transition into a form of hybrid learning.
They also said that whilst online learning has proven to be a convenient alternative in a COVID-19 world, one must acknowledge the impact and solitude that remote learning has caused.
Furthermore, whilst KSU welcomes the administration of the booster vaccine to further protect the Maltese public against COVID-19, it asks how this will affect life on campus should the main hub for boosters remain at University.
What do you think about the situation?
Should classes be held online or in-person?
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