[WATCH] Schools' COVID-19 safety measures inspected by independent assessor, Bonnici says

Education Minister Owen Bonnici says all the necessary measures have been put in place for students to safely return to school

Education Minister Owen Bonnici toured Hondoq middle school on Friday
Education Minister Owen Bonnici toured Hondoq middle school on Friday

Schools are being inspected by an independent assessor to determine whether they have adhered to COVID-19 health protocols, Owen Bonnici said.

The certified assessor is inspecting schools to ensure that health and safety measures are in place before they reopen for students, the Education Minister added.

“Our schools are prepared to reopen safely,” he told MaltaToday after touring the Ħandaq middle school in Qormi where preparations were underway for the new scholastic year.

Before entering schools students must have their temperture taken
Before entering schools students must have their temperture taken

Bonnici’s comments came on the day that government announced that State school students will return to their classrooms on 7 October rather than on 30 September. Students will return in a staggered approach depending on their year group, over a one-week period. Church schools will be following suite.

READ ALSO: Church and State schools reopening postponed by a week for all students

Educators will, however, return to schools from Monday with the one-week postponement for students allowing them enough time to familiarise themselves with the new school environment.

Bonnici insisted that the best education is received in the classroom. “While the first day of school will be different according to the respective year group, by 14 October, all students will be back to school… we firmly believe that the best education is received in the classroom,” Bonnici said.

Students will have to wait outside the bathroom in a cheque until a stall is free
Students will have to wait outside the bathroom in a cheque until a stall is free

But concerns have been raised over government’s decision to allow parents and custodians the liberty to choose whether to send their children to school since some may abuse the system.

“Parents have a right to decide whether it is right for their family to send their children back to school – this is a decision that needs to be made by the parents, and it’s a decision we respect… However, we are encouraging all those to send their children to school, with the peace of mind that we have put all the measures into place minimize the risk as much as possible,” Bonnici said.

He said the ministry is calling for maturity and cooperation from the public.

“Everyone needs to be responsible for themselves. It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that children are attending the lessons. We all need to cooperate and work together during this uncertain period,” he said. 

Bonnici emphasized that schools have put into place all the protocols advised by the health authorities.

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