Just eight days after the start of the school year in Greece, dozens of institutes are occupied by students who protest against the absence of effective measures against the coronavirus, while many other centers have had to close when cases ofCOVID-19.
“It is true that with the occupation we lost hours of course, but only then will our voice be heard, “a high school student in the capital region of Attica told private television OPEN.
Students at this busy secondary school claim the need for teachers who fill vacant positions, hiring a second cleaner and allowing no more than 15 students per classroom.
“We must wear the mask, it is the law. But we need more teachers, more cleaners, more classrooms, we are 29 people per class, “a student from an occupied high school in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in the country, told ERT public television.
According to the teachers’ unions, the school year started with around 20,000 unfilled teaching positions.
“In 25 years of career it is the first time that there is so many vacant positions at my school, “the director of a school in the center of Athens, who did not want to give his name, told EFE on the first day of school.
In addition, although the management of the pandemic requires frequent disinfection, the Government has hired the same number of cleaners for this school year – it is a profession that in Greece, women practice almost exclusivelys- and many of them part-time.
The faculty, supported by many experts, requires a maximum of 15 students per classroom. In cities, there are between 23 and 28 per class. In private centers, this figure can exceed 30.
Although the Ministry of Education has not given figures on occupied schools, according to local media they are more than a hundred.
Other schools, for which there are no official figures, have been occupied by students instigated by parents who oppose the use of a mask.
Meanwhile, every day more educational centers are added to the list of those that suspend, partially or totally, their operation because of confirmed coronavirus cases between students or teachers.
If a case of coronavirus is confirmed in a school, courses are suspended for two weeks in the classroom where the person in question studies or works. If three cases are confirmed, all courses at the center are suspended for the same time.
Hundreds of affected centers
According to the data offered this Tuesday by the Ministry of Education, 58 centers, of which 34 are in Attica, have partially or totally suspended their activities.
To these are added the more than 300 pre-school, primary and secondary schools in the district of Pela, in northern Greece, where at the beginning of the month more than one 100 cases of COVID-19 in a food packaging factory and a number of extraordinary measures have been applied there since.
Meanwhile, given the increase in confirmed cases of coronavirus in Greece – this Monday there was a new record with 453 cases registered in one day – the imposition of a new confinement in Attica and the closure of schools and, in this case, generalize distance education.
However, last week the Personal Data Protection Authority decreed that the contract between the Ministry of Education and the private company that was in charge of organizing the distance education does not protect sufficiently the personal data of teachers and students, which could put the Greek government’s plan at risk.