The authorities are preparing for “all scenarios” should the re-opening of schools in July for the summer programme go ahead, an Education Ministry spokesman has said. 

That includes re-opening schools “under certain limitations or conditions”.

A number of teachers have expressed concern that it might be too early to re-open schools for the summer as the country is still battling the coronavirus outbreak.

The teachers made their views public after Education Minister Owen Bonnici confirmed the government plans to re-open schools for the summer programme starting in July.

This, he said, would only be done with the public health authorities’ blessing.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci, who is the one who needs to give the go-ahead for a decision of this sort, has refused to say what her position on the matter is.

Instead, she said the health authorities are monitoring developments closely and will make certain decisions closer to the date.

According to the Malta Union of Teachers, many are hesitant about the re-opening, especially where young children are involved as these might not understand social distancing and other health procedures.

Other educators, the union said, are either in the vulnerable category themselves or live with vulnerable people. They are concerned about the impact the re-opening of schools may have on their well-being.

A ministry spokesperson said that a project the size of SkolaSajf could not be delivered “from one day to the next” but involved months of planning.

“The easiest thing would have been for us calling the project off but, instead, we decided to take the more responsible route: that of preparing for all scenarios whether that means opening the doors, not opening them or opening them under certain limitations or conditions.

“We are working with the health authorities because the health considerations and safety of our workers and participants come first and foremost,” the spokesperson assured.

The Foundation for Educational Services was entrusted with making this possible, he added.

Talks were underway, both at management level and also with the respective centre coordinators, with the aim of discussing “all relevant issues”.

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