A GRADUAL opening of schools will take place in Gibraltar after the pandemic forced them to close down for the last month.
For the second day running there were ten active cases with nearly 250 cases being processed from the latest front-line worker random testing sample.
Minister for Education Gilbert Licudi is finalising plans with unions while considering the school year finishes in six weeks.
“Children returning to school will be split between the morning and the afternoon,” said Licudi.
“This will give sufficient room for small classes allowing the rules on social distancing to be observed.
“Children who are at a critical stage of their learning journey are to be brought back first.”
This will probably include GCSE and A-level students who might have to resit examinations next year.
Pupils are being urged to bring their own learning equipment so they do not have to share with others, increasing the possibility of virus spread.
He added that many of them will continue their journey at home and that childcare facilities for key workers will continue at schools.
He also announced that the Instituto Cervantes will be reopening in Gibraltar since the PSOE came back to office in Spain.
The international Spanish academy will start by offering an online service to Year 12 students to help them in their Spanish language studies.
“Parents will be advised of the particular arrangements that are that are made and the circumstances in which they can send their their children to school,” added Licudi.
Remembering worker sacrifice
Earlier in the day, a simple memorial ceremony took place for Workers Memorial Day in the Lobby of Parliament.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Minister for Employment Gilbert Licudi and Unite the Union heads laid wreaths to salute all who had died in the pandemic so far.
“This year in particular we think of health workers around the world who have lost their lives at work treating those with COVID 19,” said Picardo.
“As the grandson of a man who died at work, I remember the grandfather I never knew and my pride in having introduced the observance of this day in Gibraltar.
“None have died at work in Gibraltar since I became Chief Minister, despite a huge increase in construction, and I hope none ever will again.”
Samantha Sacramento, Minister for Civil Contingencies, reminded the elderly to take their freedom to exercise with care as from April 29.
“The risk of the virus, however, continues to be the same and the advice to stay home remains,” she said.
“If it is necessary to leave home in order to exercise, do that for the minimum amount of time and observe social distancing.”
Marshals backed up by police officers will be ensuring the spaces allocated for exercise between 10am and 12 noon are kept free just for the elderly.
Finally, the Olive Press questioned Minister for Civil Contingencies Samantha Sacramento on contact tracing, which could be used to stop infection spread.
“We have taken legal advice on the matter and it’s also been discussed at length with the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority,” said Sacramento.
“We are also very mindful of the fact that people who are over a certain age may not be that familiar with devices.”
For those people manual checks will be used to help them steer clear of the virus.
“We now have up to date and accurate telephone numbers and contact details for these individuals.
“Should we need to reach out to them and contact them in the absence of alternative sources such as an app, then we can easily do so.”