ATHENS — Education Minister Niki Kerameus on Tuesday announced that schools will open on September 14, speaking at the press conference presenting details concerning the launching of the school year in the persistent coronavirus pandemic.
Face masks, she said, are to be worn by all, teachers and students, and will be handed out for free at both public and private schools.
An important factor in reaching the decision, as the minister said, was to allow sufficient time for the full return of summer excursionists and to limit the movements of asymptomatic citizens.
"We are here to ensure both good public health and good education," she exclaimed, as "we will come out of this crisis even stronger", she concluded.
The government and health authorities had initially considered the launch of the new school year to be held on September 7.
Petsas: 'Additional measures necessary so schools remain a hive of knowledge, not a coronavirus breeding ground'
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that teachers, students and their parents, local and central government, all have to pull together to "win the war against this unprecedented global health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic," speaking at the press conference on the opening of the new school season in the midst of the persistent coronavirus pandemic and a recent spike in new cases.
As he pointed out, "local government and central government have been working closely together all this time, as the school year which starts in a few days is unique. Additional protection measures are necessary so that our schools remain a hive of knowledge, not a coronavirus breeding ground that further spreads the pandemic."
Petsas also noted the crucial role of the cooperation between the Ministry of Interior and the country's municipalities, as they "do what is necessary for the smooth operation of the schools, ensuring the necessary disinfection and disposal of all consumables, such as masks and antiseptics."
He also noted that a large number of citizens have not yet returned to urban centers from their summer holidays, as "especially in Athens, until August 31, based on the analysis of population mobility data – from tolls, ferry and air transport, as well as public transport – it seems that only about 85 pct of the capital's residents have come back."
The government spokesman underlined that "we call on all parents to return home in coming days with their children. And to take care, for the good of the whole family, to stay safe by limiting contacts with the wider community until the start of classes."
Education Minister Niki Kerameus, Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos, President of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) Dimitris Papastergiou and Professor