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.
Kerameus also announced a set of sixteen preventive measures and directives against the novel coronavirus. These are:
– Mandatory use of face masks in all indoor, outdoor areas and school buses, with special emphasis in wearing those at kindergarten to the third grade. Free masks will be provided to all students and teachers at all public and private schools.
– Updated instructions will be sent to schools and will also be published on the website of the Ministry of Education. Doctors will visit schools to further explain prevention measures and the appropriate use of face masks.
– There will be antiseptics in all schools, cleaning of all areas will be meticulous, supervised by local government authorities.
– All-day schools will operate normally during the school year 2020-21, with a secured budget of additional credits surpassing 100 million euros, in order to protect the most vulnerable groups of the population, such as grandparents.
– Sampling checks will be carried out by EODY at schools, where necessary.
– Daily breaks will take place at different times and in different areas at each school.
– School canteens will operate on customized special instructions by the national committee of health experts.
– School holidays and special occasions will take celebrated in-class at each school, while concerning the first day of the new school year and the traditional ceremony of sanctification and the blessing ritual by a priest, this is to be performed per class, outdoors and with all protection measures.
– Student class tests will take place wearing the mandatory face mask and in observance of all other measures.
– There will be no multi-day excursions and conferences in the coming school year 2020-21.
– Visits to museums, public buildings, etc. will be carried out class-by-class only.
– In sports, small teams are preferable for team games, but school championships will not take place this year.
– School laboratories will be provided with cleaning equipment to be used before and after each session.
– As above for all computer and IT rooms at schools.
– As above for all musical instruments and music rooms at schools.
– Following a recommendation for the exclusive use of personal water bottles, the A. C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation is donating one such water bottle to every student up to sixth grade at all public and private schools, thus avoiding the exchange of bottles, glasses and mouth contact with the tap.