THE Government has defended itself from the criticism of Opposition parties for not protecting children enough at school.

Both the GSD Opposition and Together Gibraltar have recently attacked the way that schools have been reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement came as the amount of active COVID-19 cases went down to just 40 although the Campo now has around 500 cases.

Mask wearing is not compulsory in schools as yet, but recommended in corridors and communal areas.

“The return to school has been planned meticulously, with full consultation between the Department of Education, Director of Public Health and Unions,” said the Department of Education.

“At all times, the decisions taken have been sensitive of the need to encourage the natural development of children and young adults.

“Their emotional and social well-being is as much of a priority as their health and safety at all times.”

The Government denied their was any difference of opinion with the Director of Public Health.

It said ‘both work together hand-in-glove’ to make sure students, teachers and staff come first in the school opening.

It pointed out that in this very fast changing moment in human history nothing could be taken for certain.

This is why there are constant meetings between health experts, unions and the director of education.

“The Government’s priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of
our pupils, teachers and staff members in a holistic way,” said Minister for Education and Public Health, John Cortes.

“This also means giving parents and older students the choice to make the right decisions for them regarding masks.

“The most important measure that children and their parents can take is to avoid direct contact with family and friends who are over 70 or who are vulnerable.

“The Government is actively looking at ways to facilitate this.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in welcoming Gibraltar’s children safely back to school – an extraordinary achievement in the circumstances we have all been dealt”.

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