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Greek Teachers Sued by Anti-Vaxxer Parents Will Avoid Police Custody

Ευρωκίνηση

Students walk in the corridor of a kindergarten in Thessaloniki, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Vasilis Ververidis)

ATHENS – After some teachers in Greece's schools were detained by police after being sued by anti-mask parents violating the country's COVID-19 mandates, the practice will be stopped.

The Citizen's Protection Ministry, which has oversight of the police, said the teachers will be protected, not prosecuted for following the law which requires students to wear masks and stay safe social distances from each other in schools.

Students who aren't vaccinated or who have proof of recovery from the Coronavirus are also supposed to show two negative tests weekly but rabid anti-vaxxers are suing teachers and even assaulting school staff following the law.

Teachers and other staff in schools who aren't vaccinated are required to pay for two molecular tests weekly at 10 euros ($11.73) but the New Democracy government hasn't yet moved to make shots mandatory for them.

Greece's so-called Aftoforo law allows a swift hearing if an arrest is made within 48 hours of an alleged crime but will be waived for the teachers after embarrassing reports some had been detained after being sued by anti-maskers.

There's been a barrage of suits against educators by Greece's rabid anti-vaxxers which have put teachers in the dilemma of facing suits for following the law or for violating it if they allow in students without masks.

There's been no reports of widespread enforcement of the anti-mask law as the government has moved away from crackdowns while concentrating on an economic recovery even as the pandemic is spreading.

Adding to the worry about the reluctance to force vaccinations is whether schools would have to be closed, or classrooms shut down if the Coronavirus can't be contained within schools.

The first instance saw two primary school classes in Greece's second-largest city of Thessaloniki suspended because of so many cases breaking out, the government having said that would happen if more than half the students were infected.

It occurred eight days into the school year after the government waffled on whether there would be remote classes as happened during lockdowns, with health experts warning students could be overrun as the Delta Variant spread.

A second grade class in the Thessaloniki school will stay closed until the end of September while the third grad was suspended until at least Oct. 1 until it can be determined whether cases can be put under control there.