The news that 244 pupils and staff have gone into self-isolation at Notre Dame school as a result of 6 COVID positive cases once again highlight the need for a strong remote learning programme at local schools.
We have been making this point for months and since April 2020. The Government has now had enough time to resolve this. There is no reason why children in self-isolation who are well enough could not join live online classes streamed from the schools to their houses. That is being done worldwide by many countries as a response to COVID to ensure students keep up with their education. This is especially relevant the older children are.
In April 2020 we called for “remote structured learning” for pupils during lockdown. While we understand that the pandemic had initially caught Governments by surprise there has now been ample time to plan online equivalent learning in the event of a closure or partial closure of a school or a need for large numbers of pupils to go into self- isolation.
Until a return to greater normality it is obvious there may be more pupils testing positive and cases of necessary self- isolation of teachers, pupils and close family of pupils. All of that will affect the traditional delivery of teaching.
Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “Many countries are providing forms of remote learning and especially at this time. Gibraltar needs to do the same and where students are unable to attend class they should do so remotely or be able to access a comprehensive and equivalent online learning platform. To do less short-changes pupils and can affect their education and future. While every other country has made big advances in remote learning during this time we continue to lag behind. How many incidents of this type will we need to see before the Government acts?”
Shadow Education Minister, Edwin Reyes said: “These are challenging times for education and educationalists and parents must work together to ensure our future generations do not miss out. These issues require radical solutions so that our pupils are not affected. The Government should act now to provide direct access to equivalent education to pupils self-isolating.”