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Returning Greek Students May Have to Wear COVID-19 Masks

ATHENS – With signs COVID-19 may be spinning out of control after being nearly checked – a rise in cases brought by defiance of health protocols, tourists and wild partying – students returning to classes in September may have to wear face masks.

Greek health experts are considering the measure,  a member of the committee advising the government on the handling of the Coronavirus pandemic said, although it likely wouldn't include universities.

“If the situation at the opening of the schools is the same as today, the masks may become mandatory every day at all school levels, including primary school,” said Anastasia Kotanidou, a Professor of Intensive Care Pulmonology at the University of Athens told broadcaster SKAI.

It was unclear how mask wearing in elementary grades would be monitored or trying to educate especially young students on keeping the masks on and social distancing in the classrooms as well. 

But Kotanidou said it's not clear how college students could be forced to wear masks as it's young people especially who are shunning them and Greek university students have a history of rebellion.

The government of Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis had been credited with holding down cases and deaths with an early lockdown March 23 before a single fatality.

But after the measures began being gradually lifted week-by-week beginning May 4, many Greeks slipped back into the lifestyle before the pandemic hit, forcing the government to impose additional measures not fully followed nor totally enforced.

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