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Greek Kindergarten, Elementary Classes Will Start Again Jan. 11

ATHENS – After some uncertainty, Greece’s ruling New Democracy is ready to let kindergarten and elementary school classes resume on Jan. 11 during a still-extended second lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Greece’s Education Ministry confirmed the reopenings and said the middle and high school classes will pick up on Jan. 8 but only online, the pandemic still lingering and fears of another spike after churches were allowed to have Epiphany Day services.

There was some confusion earlier after Deputy Government spokesperson Aristotelian Peloni said “there were no certainties” over the reopening of schools for younger pupils.

“The committee (of experts) will evaluate the epidemiological data and make its recommendations to the government, so that it can make its decisions,” she said, according to Kathimerini.

“The pandemic is a phenomenon that evolves dynamically. Just as its development is not linear, neither are the decisions,” she added.

There was no word yet, however, on whether stores would be allowed to go back to a click-and-collect method of letting shoppers make purchases online and reservations for pickup in person.

The second lockdown began Nov. 7 – too late, admitted Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis – and was supposed to lift Dec. 7 and then Jan. 7 but allowing more people out of their homes under lenient measures didn’t hold down the virus' spread.

Educators to get free coronavirus testing

Teachers of all school levels will be tested for the novel coronavirus for free, based on random selection through the new platform https://edu.testing.gov.gr/ set up by four ministries, it was announced on Thursday.

The Ministries of Education & Religion, Health, Digital Governance and National Defense invited all teachers to voluntarily sign up at the site for free tests that wil begin on Friday, Jan. 8 ahead of the reopening of primary and special schools on Jan. 11. (Higher grades will resume online classes the same week.)

Selection criteria for testing include sign-up date and region, as well as local test availability. Teachers' credentials will be checked through the national educational platform @sch.gr and a confirmation will be sent via text message (sms) directing them to one of 386 points administering the tests.

According to the registration platform's message to teachers (and students over 16), "Your participation in this effort will help specialists draw a better picture of the dispersion of the coronavirus in Greece, and in the academic community in particular, by identifying the dispersal faster."

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