MOST government schools will not re-open until January 25 as COVID-19 gripped the British territory.

This date could be delayed even further if the current third wave is not brought under control by then.

There are currently 1,184 active cases in Gibraltar, with 30 in hospital and 78 elderly persons infected at their retirement homes.

Schools were supposed to open on January 11 but the recent surge has forced the hand of the Department of Education.

The only school to perhaps open earlier will be St Martin’s School for children with disabilities.

The school might be able to open on January 18 because of the stress and disruption this closure would cause families.

In the meantime, all students will start to learn online from January 11 with programmes created by the Department of Education.

Parents are being asked to follow the Contingency Learning Guidelines published on the government website.

Frontline workers may apply directly to the school if they need their children to be looked after when they are at work.

This service will only be for supervision, with children doing their online learning later in the day.

School counsellors will be available for parents and children finding it difficult at this time.

“Everyone in Education is working hard to ensure that we deliver a meaningful learning experience,” said Minister for Education John Cortes.

“I want to pay special tribute to the children of Gibraltar. They are the silent sufferers in all of this.

“They do not express their views or vent their frustration through social media, but their lives have been changed so drastically over the past year.

“They’ve been without schooling for large periods, not seeing friends, cousins, grandparents.

“And yet they still smile and they still laugh, resilient and strong in a way that us adults can no longer be.

“I want to assure them that all of us in the community will do all that we can to ensure that their learning continues and that their lives are back to normal as soon as humanly possible.”

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