Schools to open on Sept 14 as a precaution

Schools to open on Sept 14 as a precaution

Greek officials Tuesday confirmed that the reopening of schools will be postponed for a week to September 14 to ensure that families who are still on vacation have enough time to come back and spend some time at home before children return to classrooms. 

Originally schools had been scheduled to open on September 7 but an upward trend in coronavirus infections, and the fact that a “significant” number of city-dwellers have yet to return from their vacations, prompted government officials to put the date back a week. 

“We urge all parents to return with their children to their homes in the coming days and to make sure they stay safe… until lessons resume,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told a joint press conference with Education Minister Niki Kerameus. In the case of Attica, Petsas said, around 85 percent of holidaymakers have returned. 

As expected, wearing a face mask will be mandatory in all indoor spaces at schools across the country, as well as in outdoor spaces where the safety distance of 1.5 meters cannot be observed. Wearing a mask will also be compulsory on school buses. Kerameus said the government will provide free masks to all public and private school pupils, as well as staff.

The reopening of schools is regarded as a significant challenge by the government in its continuing response to the Covid-19 pandemic amid concerns of a second wave in the fall. If necessary, officials said Tuesday, more safety measures will be introduced. 

Another key concern is a spate of coronavirus outbreaks at retirement homes, whose residents belong to high-risk groups. A retirement home in Korydallos was fined 10,000 euros after an inspection by state officials revealed that it was hosting more residents than its maximum capacity allows for and not observing health protocols.