[WATCH] Students need to return to school physically, it's invaluable, head of school says

St Catherine’s head of school Sue Midolo says the level of care the school offers is unmatchable and cannot be obtained through online classes

School mascot Toni played by Brian Gauci
School mascot Toni played by Brian Gauci

It is key for students to return to school, as socialisation with peers and staff is "invaluable," St Catherine’s head of school Sue Midolo told MaltaToday.

Tuesday marked the school's second day of operation, having opted for a staggered approach to entry, which will see all students back in the classroom by Friday.

Children were greeted by Toni and Tina, the junior school mascots - characters played by pastoral care director Brian Gauci and Midolo, respectively.

Midolo said that around 10% of students had opted to continue their education online and that classes would be live-streamed to accommodate them
Midolo said that around 10% of students had opted to continue their education online and that classes would be live-streamed to accommodate them

“It is important socially and mentally that students return to school. Students need to socialize, with each other and with teachers. We do offer online schooling but that is an alternative which cannot replace the level of care and attention students receive at school. We talk to them, we cheer them on, that contact is irreplaceable,” Midolo said when MaltaToday visited the school on Tuesday.

She said that around 10% of students had opted to continue their education online and that classes would be live-streamed to accommodate them.

Tuesday marked the school's second day of operation, having opted for a staggered approach to entry, which will see all students back in the classroom by Friday
Tuesday marked the school's second day of operation, having opted for a staggered approach to entry, which will see all students back in the classroom by Friday

Midolo said that the reaction from students and parents had been nothing but positive. “Children want to be back in school… We have a great community that has worked together to make this possible; from staff to parents, and of course students,” Midolo said.

On Monday select independent schools decided to forge ahead with reopening plans despite the decision taken by State and church schools to postpone the return of students to their classroom by a week.

Midolo highlighted that the school had been preparing all summer to welcome children back and that the staff were happy to see the labour finally bear fruit
Midolo highlighted that the school had been preparing all summer to welcome children back and that the staff were happy to see the labour finally bear fruit

Midolo highlighted that the school had been preparing all summer to welcome children back and that the staff were happy to see the labour finally bear fruit.

“We are going to do everything possible to make sure COVID-19 does not enter our school however we are prepared if it does,” she said.

Human resources and pastoral care Director Brian Gauci added that the school had put solid protocols in place to protect both staff and students.

St Catherine’s head of school Sue Midolo dressed up as one of the two junior school mascots
St Catherine’s head of school Sue Midolo dressed up as one of the two junior school mascots

“We have had training sessions with all stakeholders, staff and parents, and now we will work with students to get them up to scratch with the guidelines so that we can tackle this pandemic together,” Gauci said.  

Gauci said that the school was focused on creating a safe environment for students so that they can continue to see the school in a positive light.

State schools and church schools were meant to open on Wednesday but the reopening for students was postponed to 7 October, following talks with the Malta Union of Teachers. The move was followed by Church schools who also delayed the reopening.

However, on Monday educators from 107 State schools across the country returned to work.

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