[WATCH] Abela warns of educational catastrophe if schools do not reopen, safety protocols being drafted

Prime Minister Robert Abela says the health authorities are drawing up protocols to create safe environments in schools when they reopen in September

Robert Abela taking questions after exiting a special Cabinet meeting at the Chamber of Commerce
Robert Abela taking questions after exiting a special Cabinet meeting at the Chamber of Commerce

Students must physically attend school not to end up with an educational crisis, which is why public health professionals are drawing up safety protocols, Robert Abela said.

The Prime Minister said it was important that education remained at the forefront of discussions as the country takes steps to control the spread of COVID-19.

He was asked about growing concerns among parents and educators over the reopening of schools in September if the number of new coronavirus cases remains at current levels. Schools are set to reopen on 28 September.

READ ALSO: Teacher’s union says not plausible to re-open schools with COVID-19 spike

Abela was taking questions after presiding over a special Cabinet meeting held at the Chamber of Commerce in Valletta.

Abela said education was crucial, and a critical part of Malta’s future economic vision and success. 

“It is very important that our children are able to attend school in person. It is for this reason that the health authorities are drawing up the protocols to create a safe environment. It is very important that we keep education at the forefront because we’ll end up without a pandemic but a catastrophe within our education system,” Abela said.

Addressing the issue of overworked swabbing centre staff, some of who have not been paid for months, Abela said that only hours after he heard the news, he visited the staff to hear first-hand what the situation was. 

As for the missing pay, Abela said arrangements were being made to rectify the situation but little could be done to mitigate the heat that staff had to endure when swabbing people in their cars.

Asked about decisions taken by other countries to take Malta off their quarantine-free green lists because of a spike in COVID-19 cases, Abela insisted the situation was under control.

He said mass events that were scheduled to take place have been cancelled and the majority of cases were either mild or asymptomatic. Very few of Malta’s cases ended up needing hospitalisation, he added.

On Tuesday, Malta registered 29 new cases and four recoveries. The total number of active cases now stands at 440.