ATHENS – Students required to be free of the Coronavirus to attend classes when they resume, vaccination centers will be set up at Greek universities to encourage them to get the shots.
The clinics on university campuses – students are reluctant to be inoculated – will offer them an opportunity to be vaccinated right there, Education Minister Niki Kerameus told Open TV.
She said that “a process is under way” but didn't give details nor a time frame although the schools are due to open on Oct. 1, leaving little time to work out the details and set up the facilities.
The New Democracy government has required students, staff, and anyone in schools, including universities, to be fully vaccinated, have proof of recovery from the virus in the last six months or take molecular tests.
School authorities, not the Health Ministry or Education Ministry, are in charge of checking documents and it wasn't said what would happen if they didn't or if the infected are allowed to attend class, work or teach on the campuses.
Kerameus said that there will be only in-class sessions in schools this academic year and no return to remote learning although the government said if there is an outbreak that a school could be closed after insisting it wouldn't, but uncertain.
“It has been decided internationally that schools will remain open but there will be increased testing,” she told the station.
She said if infections occur pupils in the affected class will do two free rapid molecular tests weekly and stay in class, while vaccinated students allowed only a self-test, and those who were nearest an infected student will get daily tests.
Contradicting herself, she said that there will be online cases if more than half the class is infected after saying there wouldn't be remote teaching.
Unvaccinated teachers will be required to attend schools with two laboratory tests, for which they must pay 10 euros ($11.83) weekly and will be suspended if they refuse, as health care workers rejecting shots have been.
If that leads to teacher shortages, she said the government has a backstop measure that includes rapid recruitment. She said that 80 percent of teachers are vaccinated and that 10 percent have recovered from the contagious virus.
With schools due to open Sept. 13, only 28 percent of children aged 15-18 have been vaccinated and 14 percent of those from 12-15, an age group for whom shots have only recently been offered.