upe calls for schools to close immediately threatens industrial action within hours - UPE calls for schools to close immediately, threatens industrial action within ‘hours’

The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of The Workers has called for schools to close down immediately, claiming that a particular educator that has contracted the virus has passed on the virus to her elderly, vulnerable parents.

The UPE – who have been sharing what they call “alleged cases” of Covid-19 in various schools across Malta and Gozo on their social media for weeks – said that they are “alarmed” at the rising number of cases within various schools.

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The union said that it has been informed by a particular educator that has contracted the virus that she has passed on the virus to her elderly parents who are very vulnerable.

Both relatives are over the age of 80, and one of them has yesterday been admitted to hospital after suffering complications due to COVID-19, the union said.

This is the first case that has been reported to the Union in which educators have infected family members, they said.

“This has been one of the many reasons why the Union advocated for online lessons way back in March as the only viable solution during a pandemic”, the UPE said.

“The Union understands that face to face teaching is the best out of the two options. Still, the UPE understands that during extraordinary circumstances, drastic actions need to be taken rather than ignoring the effects of the pandemic.”

The union said that it can also confirm that the number of teachers on quarantine or on sick leave as well as those who are being shielded due to their vulnerable status “has decimated the educational working force rendering some schools challenging to manage due to the sheer number of vacant classes.”

The UPE said that it is foreseeing that other cases will arise in the coming days with a possibility of spreading the virus from schools to the general public. It is evident that the most vulnerable are elderly grandparents who care for their grandchildren before the return of their parents; this scenario is a recipe for further fatalities, they said.

“For this reason, the UPE is calling once again on Government, Church officials as well as Private School owners to revert to online lessons as to stop the spread of COVID-19 within our schools, failure to do so will leave the Union no other option but to enforce strict industrial action within the next hours.”

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