ATHENS – It wasn’t explained how students will be kept apart at all times, but Greece’s Education Ministry said schools will resume May 11 as a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus continues being lifted.
Smaller stores had gone back into operation and May 4 and people were allowed out of their homes, leading to scenes of mass gatherings and young people widely violating the social distancing recommendation to stay at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart and even hugging each other, considered a risk for the virus.
The ministry sent health instructions to try to maintain some sense of hygiene in schools, including keeping a distance, how to handle school equipment, keeping desks and chairs apart and directing traffic to avoid congregating, said Kathimerini.
Students will be instructed not to exchange stationary or pass notes to each other and will have to use keyboard covers on computers and seats will be disinfected after each use, every time it’s going to be used by another pupil.
There will also be psychological help available for those who find it difficult to cope with the stress and fear even as the virus is winding down in the country after an early lockdown held down the number of cases and fatalities.
High schools opened May 6 for teachers to begin preparations for the return of students, with seniors trying to get ready for university entrance exams.
The openings are drawing some criticism, including from teachers, and with mayors on some islands fearful it could spread the virus again. The secondary school teachers’ union (OLME) stopped work for three hours on May 6 n protest, to no avail.
In comments to Skai TV, OLME President Theodoros Tsouchlos said it wasn’t safe for students and teachers in groups of up to 40 in the same room to be there and said that teachers weren’t given adequate instructions on how to work safely.