It’s August and every University of Malta student is probably still shaky on whether or not we will be returning to regular classes next month. Initially, the Ministry for Education stated that students would be returning to school on the 18th of October yet a few weeks ago the Ministry shifted this date to the 28th of September. And yet the University of Malta’s website states that university will start classes on the 12th of October. Such confusion leaves university students to wonder what is going to happen.
The University of Malta has not issued any statements regarding ways it will be implementing such health measures. Due to the recent spikes in cases, students are also concerned whether classes will suddenly shift online since there is a current uncertainty on whether or not physically-held classes are ideal.
It is important to discuss whether the recent restriction of mass gatherings is to be implemented at the University of Malta as well as other institutions all over the islands. Will students have to stay in groups of 10 or not at school? Will lecture halls and classrooms allow a certain amount of students according to a ratio of person per squared meter area? Will there be social distancing between seats in lecture halls and classrooms? Some classrooms at the University of Malta are small to the point that social distancing might not be possible. Furthermore, most lecture halls and classrooms do not have ventilation.
Nevertheless, will students have to wear masks and get their temperature taken on campus? Will sanitizers be placed all over campus? Will the campus be disinfected constantly by janitorial staff? Will student organizations be given restrictions and guidelines as how to organize their events in a safe way? There are many questions that students are asking which lead to the uncertainty of whether or not campus should reopen.
Students would definitely prefer things going back to normal so that their studies could continue the proper way unlike the entire issue with online classes last semester. However, if the situation clearly shows that classes are to be held online, such action must be taken.
The university should definitely prepare its Counseling Center for students who would mentally be affected by attending school physically since constantly being cautious could result in major impacts on their health and education. The University of Malta will need to prepare itself and be able to guide its students properly if classes are going to be held physically. The university needs to be a safe space if students are going to go back. Eventually, the University of Malta must speak up about the situation.