Italian government wants in-person classes to resume, schools don’t

A group of dental students within a classroom of the University of Sapienza, Rome, Italy. [EPA-EFE/MASSIMO PERCOSSI]

A return to in-person classes is unmanageable at the moment, 1,500 school principals wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Education Minister Patrizio Bianchi on Thursday.

The government is pushing to maintain in-person classes from next Monday (10 January). However, schools would struggle to track cases, test students and staff for COVID-19 and guarantee everyone wears FFP2 masks.

The risk is that a significant number of classes will soon have to quarantine since maintaining in-person schooling in such conditions would be difficult, the letter states.

“A planned and temporary suspension of in-person classes for a fortnight is certainly preferable to an unmanageable situation that is certain to cause fragmentation, interruption of classes and a lack of educational effectiveness,” the principals said in the letter. They are also asking that this period be used to adequately prepare for such difficulties, implement tracking and testing systems, and ensure they can guarantee a sufficient number of FFP2 masks.

The COVID-19 situation in Italy is problematic. The country recorded 291,441 new COVID-19 cases and 231 related deaths on Thursday.

Over 1.1 million people have been tested using PCR or antigen tests despite hospitals and private clinics being overwhelmed with bookings.

Italy recently introduced mandatory vaccination for every resident over 50 until 15 June.

(Eleonora Vasques | EURACTIV.com)

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