ATHENS – Facing rebellion from anti-masker parents, Greece's New Democracy government is finalizing plans for school reopening Sept. 7 during the resurging COVID-19 pandemic, offering assurances it's safe.
The country is in a second wave after holding down the number of cases and deaths with an early lockdown March 23 that was gradually lifted week-by-week beginning May 4.
The numbers began jumping again as many defied measures to wear masks and stay a safe social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, and with tourists allowed in bringing infections.
The Education Ministry was expected on Aug. 24 to reveal the measures for schools after the government said masks would be supplied free to students who likely may need more than one a day with their activities.
Education Minister Niki Kerameus said parents and children will be given leaflets with instructions on the proper use of face masks and that the first lessons will deal with how to handle the pandemic and stay safe, said Kathimerini.
If there are a number of cases or a big outbreak, the plan is for only the affected department to be shut, not a whole school, and for the students to take classes remotely from home.
Panagiotis Gargalianos, President of the Hellenic Society for Infectious Diseases, said health protocols for schools are being repeatedly modified to try to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, and keep students apart as much as possible.
As for universities and the September exam period, Kerameus is leaving it up to the schools to decide whether tests should be done onsite or online as was the case for the summer entrance tests for this year.