VALLETTA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Malta announced on Wednesday strict guidelines for the upcoming new school year set to start at the end of September with fewer children in classrooms.
Desks 1.5 metres apart and children wearing masks at all times when outside their classroom are also required, the health and education authorities said.
Addressing a news conference on the "new normal" when schools reopen at the end of September, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Education and Employment Frank Fabri said the underlying principles were social distancing, keeping children of the same age together as much as possible, mask wearing and proper hand hygiene.
Children will have their temperature taken upon entry into school and asked to sanitise their hands every morning. Parents will be encouraged to drop off their children and leave so as not to create crowds outside school.
Children in primary schools will remain in the same classroom bubble so as to minimise the risk of transmission. In secondary schools, where students are normally expected to change classrooms, this will be kept to the minimum possible.
Children under three will not be required to wear masks. Primary school children will be required to wear masks only in common areas, where there is a chance of mixing with other children. In secondary schools, children will be expected to wear masks all the time.
Moreover, parents must keep children at home if they are sick, or if they have someone at home who is sick.
Fabri said discussions are underway on the best online learning methods for those students who have to stay at home.
On homework, Fabri said teachers are encouraged to give virtual homework or to carry out collective correction of homework in the classroom.
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