After Oversized COVID-19 Masks Given Greek Students, Production Stops


Face masks handed out to school children on the first day of school. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiorgos Eustathiou)

ATHENS – In an embarrassing and widely-televised moment for the New Democracy government, many Greek students returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic were given masks big enough to cover their whole face.

That has led to the halting of production of thousands of reusable masks allegedly designed for school children, with the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDE) inundated with complaints.

Hundreds of pupils returning to school were met with masks so big they were neither functional nor effective in protecting the children and those around them from the Coronavirus, said Kathimerini.

The manufacturers will be going back to production once they receive new measurements from the Health Ministry, which admitted that the orders for the three different mask sizes – one each for kindergarten and elementary school children, and a third for older students and adults – were badly worded and led to confusion.

All school children are being supplied with a reusable mask and a refillable water bottle as part of health safety protocols governing the reopening of schools although fears remain the virus could spread despite health protocols.

Fears of mass resistance from anti-masker parents groups who said the coverings aren't safe didn't materialize, with only a few protests although there were incidents in in Achaia, Thessaloniki and on Crete, where a parent was allegedly verbally and physically abusive toward a teacher and hit him.

That led Education Minister Niki Kerameus to ask a prosecutor to step in and said her ministry would do “whatever is necessary to protect the educational community,” from harassment, abuse or violence.