Greek health experts agreed on Monday that kindergartens and primary schools can re-open on January 11 under strict guidelines and Covid-19 measures.
Education Minister Niki Kerameus said there would be shifting class times so as to avoid crowding at schools by parents wishing to collect their children. She added that there would also be alternating break periods and the use of different entrances.
Daycare centers will also open on January 11.
The minister said a decision to re-open secondary schools and tertiary education would be reached following assessment of epidemiological data next week. Until then, classes will be held online as of Friday, January 8.
Lastly, the minister announced the launch of a special platform for teachers where they can book preventive tests from 2pm to 5pm. She went on to add that teachers would have priority over the general population for Covid-19 vaccination.
New Covid-19 Strain Makes its Way to Greece
In the meantime, authorities are highly concerned about the arrival to Greece of a new coronavirus variant.
Four incidents of the new fast-spreading strain were found in travelers from Britain.
First detected in Britain, the new variant appears to be even more transmissible than the original variant of Covid-19. Another strain was also found in South Africa.
“The four persons recently traveled to Greece from Britain. They are in quarantine,” a health ministry official told Reuters.
It should be reminded that Greece extended Covid-19 restrictions until January 11 shutting down hair salons, bookstores and shops operating by click-away that had been allowed to re-open during the holiday.
Central Greece Town Goes into Tough Lockdown
Additionally, tighter measures were announced for the Central Greece town of Sperechiada due to a rise in coronavirus cases there. Measures include a 6pm-5am curfew, a ban on all movement with the exception of health reasons, shops are closed, and religious ceremonies banned.
In the meantime, the government is at loggerheads with the Orthodox Church, which is reacting to a decision to ban church attendance this week and particularly on Wednesday, which marks Epiphany Day.
The Church’s ruling body issued a statement on Monday ordering priests to allow worshippers inside churches for the feast day of the Epiphany, noting that it “does not accept” the new containment measures.
In the last 24 hours, Greece recorded 427 new Covid-19 cases and 54 new deaths. According to health authorities, a total of 9,528 people have been vaccinated so far.