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Disability Activists Rubbish ‘Half Baked’ Guidelines For Malta’s Schools

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Disability activists lambasted Malta’s COVID-19 guidelines for the reopening of schools in September, which excluded instructions for disabled students save for a single page.

The Malta Federation Organisations Persons with Disability (MFOPD) slammed the document as “half baked” and the result of a total lack of involvement and collaboration with relevant NGOs.

In the document, the only page that refers to students with disabilities is on page 23, which refers to students who require nappy changing, feeding and those who need holding.

What about the other students who do not have these needs and rely on the support of their LSE? What are the guidelines with regards this vis-a-vis class schooling, one to one schooling within a school environment and those who for some reason have to opt for online learning?” The umbrella group for disability asked.

“How long are persons in authority and policymakers to continue burying their heads in the sand and ignore such unpleasant results due to lack of collaboration with us?”

Last week, Malta’s schools received the highly anticipated COVID-19 guidelines ahead of reopening at the end of the month. The reaction from students to teachers and other stakeholders was mixed.

Staff and students older than 11 must wear masks at all times and classes are to be kept as small as possible.

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci recommended a class bubble approach, whereby students will spend the entire day with their class group, including break, so as to limit contact with other students.

However, a survey by the Union of Professional Educators (UPE), Malta’s minority teachers’ union, showed that from 1,285 members, 87% would rather schools return to an online learning system.

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