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Greece’s Universities Won’t Go Remote Again During Pandemic

September 24, 2021

ATHENS – While Greek university officials have admitted they can't enforce COVID-19 health restrictions they still don't want to use remote learning during the pandemic, only in-class sessions.

The Council of Rectors of Greece has upheld an Education Ministry decision to that effect although the government also contradicted itself and said classes in public schools would be shut down if more than half the students are infected.

The decision to keep universities open as the pandemic resurges because of a resistant anti-vaccination movement – shots aren't required for students, staff and academics – was made at an emergency meeting of the council, said Kathimerini.

There was also worry expressed over the shortage of classrooms, lecture theaters and staff to ensure that Coronavirus safety measures are applied even if they can't be.

“The Council confirms that the country’s universities will be returning to the in-person educational process within a framework that will be defined by the state. The Council, in fact, has unanimously expressed the need for a return to class since last July,” it said in a statement later.

The rectors said there aren't enough lecture theaters or professors to ensure physical distancing and said it would be difficult to check vaccination certificates as some sessions have up to 300 students.

That led to some educators wanting to return to remote classes as happened during previous lockdowns aimed at slowing the pandemic, which worked for a while before a Delta Variant-driven case load and anti-vaxxers lost that fight.

Education Minister Niki Kerameus, who also attended the meeting, said some 400 more permanent academic staff will be added and 2.6 million euros ($3.05 million) was allocated to hire lecture theater monitors to check vaccine documents and enforce health safety rules. 

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