Coronavirus – is it safe to travel to Malta for an English Language Course? (constantly updated)


Coronavirus Update - English courses in Malta - Gateway School of English international students

UPDATED (6th April 2020)

Coronavirus cases in Malta: There are currently 241 Coronavirus cases confirmed in Malta https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/watch-live-daily-update-on-coronavirus-cases-in-malta.783737

We stress the importance of staying at home and staying safe and please avoid going out to meet friends as much as possible as this would put you in a higher risk of getting infected.

As you know GSE is offering online tuition to its students and now we started offering these online courses to students who are abroad and not necessarily in Malta. So if you have friends or relatives who would like to study English while in quarantine at home tell them to get in touch with us on [email protected]

Prices for online courses can be found here: https://english-malta.com/english-courses-malta/online-courses/

GSE will continue offering online courses option even after the COVID-19 crisis when classes resume at school so students will have the option to attend online courses or attend classes held at the school and experience Malta.

UPDATED (1st April 2020)

Update regarding Visas: Please note that the Central Visa Unit will not be accepting students’ applications directly from students but all documents are to be sent to the school. In the meantime to keep you well informed on the new procedures we have created a page dedicated to FAQs in relation to the COVID-19 crisis as well as information regarding the new Visa procedure.

COVID-19 Crisis Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED (31st March 2020)

Today is a public holiday in Malta: Freedom Day. Kindly note that lessons will not be held today and we will resume online classes tomorrow, Wednesday 1st April. In the meantime please take care, stay healthy, wash your hands regularly and follow the health authorities’ advice.

UPDATED (30th March 2020)

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING Groups of four or more people caught in public by the police will be fined €100 each, under new laws being introduced to enforce coronavirus social distancing measures. https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/watch-live-home-affairs-minister-announces-new-coronavirus-measures.782042

We stress the importance of social distancing and staying away from people. We are still in time to save Malta from this deadly virus if ALL OF US COOPERATE and FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED BY THE HEALTH AUTHORITIES. Please keep washing your hands and stay at home, don’t go out if possible. Together we can beat COVID-19 and make Malta a the lovely place we know it.

TOMORROW 31st March is a public holiday so lessons won’t be held tomorrow.  We will see you again online on Wednesday morning.

UPDATED (29th March 2020)

The Ministry of Education has informed us that the public/state schools’ closure extension until end of June applies to ALL Schools, including English Language schools. Therefore the school shall remain closed until the end of June. As most of you know already GSE is providing online courses / tuition during this temporary closure. Should you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with us here: [email protected]

In the meantime please stay safe and REMEMBER you need to isolate yourself and NOT MEET PEOPLE. We recommend that you stay home and not go out unless it is absolutely necessary.

UPDATED (27th March 2020)

13:00

Coronavirus updates: Please note that as from yesterday, the police have been granted legal enforcement to break up public gatherings of more than five people, ensuring they stand at least two metres away from each other.  Here we emphasise the importance of social distancing and self isolation. This is key in combating the virus and reducing the spread of the infection.

On a different note OUR ONLINE LESSONS WILL CONTINUE IN THE COMING WEEKS while the school is temporarily closed. We started offering our online lessons also to students who are not necessarily in Malta but are confined to their homes in their country and wish to improve their English. We are offering courses for all ages even for kids. The advantage with our online lessons is that students will have the same GSE teachers they will have when they study with us in Malta. So spread the word among family and friends and tell them about our online courses.

Since we are providing online courses to students who decided to remain in Malta during the COVID-19 crisis we will not be issuing any more credit notes or vouchers for the remaining weeks as students have the opportunity to continue the course online. This was the best alternative we could offer and those students who are taking the online course know that our teachers do their best to make the class look as real as possible and that there is a lot of interaction even if this is online.  Also students requiring a Visa to stay in Malta will be having their Visas renewed on condition that they will follow the online course offered by the school.

STAY SAFE, AVOID GATHERINGS, SELF ISOLATE, DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS and WASH YOUR HANDS REGULARLY.

If you need to speak to us any time we are here for you, have a nice weekend from the GSE Team.

#stayhome #staysafe #weteachyouenglish

UPDATED (24th March 2020)

11:00: Good morning. As you probably already know non-essential shops and services were shut as of Monday (yesterday) morning and this includes clothes shops, sportswear, jewellery, hand bags and leather goods, costume jewellery and accessories, footwear, non-prescription eyewear, perfumeries, beauty products, haberdasheries, soft furnishings, household appliances, souvenirs, discounted items, luggage, toys, hobbies, furniture, florists and vaping.

Other outlets providing non-essential services which had to close were hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, spas, nail artists, nail technicians and tattooists.

Also we have an update from the Central Visa Unit for those students who will be renewing their Visa:

The CVU will be ISSUING Visas for those students who are attending online lessons.

This is the latest update from the CVU, if there are any changes later on we will let you know here.

Please keep following this blog.

A GENTLE REMINDER: KEEP WASHING THOSE HANDS and AVOID CONTACT WITH PEOPLE, ISOLATE YOURSELF as SOCIAL DISTANCING IS IMPORTANT SO THAT TOGETHER WE CAN BEAT COVID-19

UPDATED (21st March 2020)

09:00: Good morning. As you probably know the school will be closed again next week and lessons will be held online. We will be moving some students to other classrooms so please check your email inbox for your new invite. If you don’t receive the e-mail that means your classroom hasn’t been changed.

In the meantime we wish you a nice weekend and please stay safe, wash your hands very often and keep away from large gatherings and crowds. As you know all restaurants, cafes and public places are currently closed so we recommend you stay home and speak to family and friends online as well as practise your English online too.

UPDATED (19th March 2020)

09:00:  Good morning. Today is a public holiday in Malta. Lessons will not be held online today. We have the following recommendation to students who are currently with us in Malta or those who follow us around the world: Social distancing is the key to combat this virus and eradicate it as early as possible. We recommend that you (wherever you are around the world) will keep away from crowds, gatherings, groups etc. and isolate yourself as much as possible. This is only a temporary measure. If we can do this we will beat Coronavirus as early as possible and avoid serious repercussions later.

UPDATED (18th March 2020)

17:30:

Notice from the CVU Central Visa Unit:

Students who need to apply for regular visa extensions and have their visa expiring as from next week until mid-April should contact us (the school) as soon as possible. Please send your email to [email protected]

09:00am

  • Please note that end date for Schools’ closure has been specified until 17 April 2020, further changes may be announced by Health Authorities as the situation develops.
  • Malta to ban all incoming and outgoing flights as from Saturday 21st March 2020, flights departing before 23.59 UTC on the 20th March 2020 are exempted.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/malta-to-ban-all-incoming-flights-from-saturday.778988

GSE is providing the following alternatives to students who cannot travel to Malta because of the flight ban:

  • to change the date of your course and accommodation to a later date (high season supplements apply)
  • changes of dates, even last minute ones will be made at no extra charge; no cancellation fees apply in this case
  • if you don’t know the period when you can travel to Malta we are providing credit notes/vouchers which can be used/redeemed (non transferable: that means it cannot be given/passed on to friends or relatives) during a period of two years and you can come to Malta and take your course and accommodation which you paid/booked any time.

UPDATED (17th March 2020)

We apologize for the slight technical difficulties we encountered yesterday which was our first day providing Online Classes. We promise you that today, Tuesday, will be a smoother day and we also hope you will enjoy your second day of online lessons with us. Please don’t forget to follow the step by step guide we included below to join the online classroom.

UPDATED (16th March 2020)

08:00: OUR ONLINE CLASSES START TODAY!

Good morning everyone. Remember to log in from the email we sent you yesterday for the online classes and go to your Google Calendar to join the session.  Here is a step by step guide for you to join this morning’s session:

6 simple steps to join the GOOGLE online classroom – GSE Malta

If you haven’t received an email with the invitation to join the classroom please send an email to [email protected]

UPDATED (15th March 2020)

18:00: Good evening everyone. By now you should have received an email inviting you to join the online classroom. Those who haven’t received the invitation yet please send us an email with your name and surname to [email protected]  We look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow morning! Have a nice evening. The GSE Team

12:00:

Message from GSE below:

Dear Student,

In light of the current uncertainty over the coronavirus which has put day-to-day life on hold for so many of us around the world as we simply wait and spectate from the sidelines, we at Gateway greatly regret the inconvenience caused by the authorities’ instructions to temporarily close the school. This decision was entirely beyond our control but was clearly made in the best interests of all parties involved, including yours.

To compensate for this inconvenience, we are working hard to provide you with an alternative to having lessons at the school. Instead, lessons will be TEMPORARILY  held online so that you will still be able to follow your course with us. All you need to do to join the online class (you will be receiving an email later on today) is follow the simple step-by-step instructions in the guide below (see link below).

Our online platform is Google Classroom and Google Hangouts so you will need to create a Google account or log on to your existing account if you already have one (if you don’t have Google hangouts/meet as an App please download it from the store). The online lessons follow the usual school timetable and will therefore be held at the same times as they were at school. You can check the Google Calendar to see the exact times of your lessons.

Please make sure you click on the calendar event (as you have it mentioned in the step by step guide) and you have to click join Hangouts on the day and time the lesson will be held.

We hope that the experience will still be of benefit to you and will help keep you going in your efforts to learn and improve your English. In spite of the limitations imposed by the challenging times we are facing right now, this is one of the advantages of living in the 21st century – that we can still stay connected, overcome certain obstacles and achieve some success in the confines of our own homes.

So remember to stay positive, be safe and keep well. We look forward to seeing you online.

Karl Sammut on behalf of the The GSE Team

PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE ON HOW TO JOIN THE ONLINE CLASSROOM:

6 simple steps to join the GOOGLE online classroom – GSE Malta

08:00: Good morning from GSE. We are working hard to provide you with an alternative to lessons at school since the school will be closed next week due to a Government directive and this might be extended to the following weeks as well. We will be announcing such an alternative later on today. Each student who is currently studying at GSE will receive an email update later on today with all the necessary information. Hope you’re all staying safe and please obey all government/public health authority directives and rules regarding COVID-19 to minimise the spread of infection. Wishing you all a good Sunday.

UPDATED (13th March 2020)

21:00: 

Please note the following update from the Central Visa Unit:

  1. Students who have their passports at CVU are advised to collect them on Monday morning(16/03) because at this stage it is safer for students to have passports with them in case the country goes on lock down;
  2. Students who need to extend visa due to the fact they cant go back home because their flight was cancelled and there is no other alternative flight available, can visit visa offices for their visa to be extended;
  3. The Visa office will be open as usual next week until further notice, however, only emergency services above will be handled, submissions of visa applications are suspended until further notice.

13:00 Quarantine has been extended to all arrivals to Malta from all the countries in the world. In other words all passengers arriving to Malta have to undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Failure to do so will incur penalties of €1,000 for every day which is breached and police will carry out spot checks to make sure it is being observed.

UPDATED (12th March 2020)

19:00 Although lessons will not be held at school until Friday 20th March 2020, our offices will remain open during office hours from 8 am until 8 pm Monday to Friday. Students whose last day of school is tomorrow Friday 13th March can collect their certificates from the school’s office preferably before 4:30pm.

18:00 GSE will be TEMPORARILY CLOSED from tomorrow until 20th March 2020 as per Government directive given this afternoon, this is effective as from tomorrow until Friday 20th March and may be extended accordingly as the situation develops. Lessons will resume on Monday 23rd March 2020.

10:30 Two new Coronavirus cases were reported this morning, bringing the total to 9 case which were all imported from abroad. Both persons are foreigners who work in Malta. We stress the importance of self quarantine when returning from abroad especially from those countries which are high risk and IT IS IMPORTANT TO ISOLATE YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY IF YOU FEEL UNWELL. This way you will reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others who might be living with you or sharing the same apartment.

9:00: Mandatory quarantine is required for students entering from one or more of the countries according to the dates shown below:

Coronavirus precautions in Malta English language students ELT industry

UPDATED (11th March 2020)

Fifth Coronavirus case confirmed in Malta: https://newsbook.com.mt/en/fifth-coronavirus-case-confirmed-in-malta/

Sixth coronavirus case is a 55-year-old Maltese man: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/sixth-coronavirus-case-confirmed.777254

Important update (11/03/20): Travel between Malta and Switzerland, Germany, France and Spain is being banned as from midnight tonight, the government has announced.

The same restriction already applies for travel from Italy.

Prime Minister Robert Abela told a press conference on Wednesday 11th March in the afternoon that arrivals from those four countries today, and anyone who arrived from Italy in the past 14 days has to observe mandatory quarantine at home. People who live in the same residence also need to observe quarantine. Tourists have to stay in their hotel rooms.

Spot checks will be made and anyone failing to observe the order will be subject to a €1,000 fine.

Seventh Coronavirus case confirmed: https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/100941/family_member_of_doctor_diagnosed_with_coronavirus_is_seventh_case#.XmoBcnJKgdU

UPDATED (10th March 2020)

UPDATED (7th March 2020)

CORONAVIRUS HELPLINE: +356 111

or visit the website: https://deputyprimeminister.gov.mt/en/health-promotion/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx

Below are a few rules which we have introduced recently at our school to ensure the well-being of our students currently attending English language courses with us:

  • We are constantly reminding students to wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand
    gel dispensers in classrooms and common areas to reduce the chances of contamination.
  • We are reminding students to cover their mouth when coughing with a tissue, or sleeves. We are stressing the importance of personal hygiene.
  • Those students who feel unwell or look sick are being asked to leave the classroom and the school so as to reduce the chances of spreading the infection.
  • Those students staying at the GSE residence or in the school apartments who feel unwell are being isolated in separate rooms to minimize the chances of spreading the infection/illness.
  • Students arriving from countries where cases of Coronavirus have already been discovered are being asked to self quarantine in a room on their own for a few days before starting classes and any missed lessons will be compensated on other days.
  • We are thoroughly cleaning with alcohol based detergents, more concentrated than usual, all surfaces and furniture in the classrooms, common areas and bedrooms at the GSE residence to reduce the risk of contamination.

Below is a video published by the World Health Organization on what people can do to protect themselves from the Coronavirus infection:

At GSE we are taking all the necessary precautions and we assure you that we will keep on doing this as we believe that our students’ health and well being comes first and should be given priority while they are studying English with us in Malta.

At the same time we still believe in diversity and multiculturalism and the importance of having an international environment in both inside as well as outside our English language classrooms. Thus we are encouraging students from all over the world to still travel to Malta to learn English with us instead of cancelling their trip. There is no reason to panic about the outbreak and such times require that people remain vigilant and calm and at the same time go about their planned activities.

Should you wish to ask us any questions regarding your planned trip to Malta please don’t hesitate to send us an email: [email protected]   

We look forward to seeing you in Malta and to welcoming you to GSE.

Coronavirus Update - English courses in Malta - Gateway School of English international students

The photo above was taken this week on the 27th February 2020, featuring students from China, Japan, Colombia, France and Russia during one of the lessons held outside the classroom, in Spinola Bay, St Julian’s, only 12 minutes’ walk from Gateway School of English GSE.

Read this article by Battleface on how Covid-19 is affecting travellers and workers outside lockdown zones:

How Covid-19 is affecting travellers and workers outside lockdown zones