Suggestions for the safe opening of schools are expected to be determined by the experts within 48 hours at the latest, with a meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday 5 January.
With Omicron spreading at breakneck speed, the issue is of great concern to government, experts and parents alike.
According to the Minister of Health Thanos Plevris, “the basic scenario, the will and the initial position, is for the schools to open on January 10, but with a possible update of the health protocol (…) depending on the course of the cases and the discussion that will take place. to the experts “.
However, the surge in the positivity of the Omicron mutation and the predictions of a dramatic increase in cases, combined with the constant pressure on the NHS, will be the catalyst for the scientists’ suggestions.
The first data on the course of the coronavirus will be evaluated in the established Monday morning coffee of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with the leadership of the Ministry of Health, Professor Sotiris Tsiodras but also with the participation, through a video conference, and members of the Committee of Experts.
The focal point for any decisions is considered to be epidemiological data. It is noted that the imprint of the New Year is not yet known, however the short incubation of the disease in the patients in an average of 2.5 days, the mass diagnostics on Monday for work and the other two self tests that are expected to be available free to citizens within days, are expected to provide important new information on the course of the pandemic.
What will happen to the schools
As far as the schools are concerned, the sub-committee’s plan for their reopening seems to have locked in and according to information, no extension will be given but the return to the desks will normally take place on January 10th.
According to SKAI channel, opinions converge on the normal opening of schools on January 10, with the committee characterizing the scenario of extending the school holidays as ungrounded, as the cases are expected to increase next week and there will be a spread among children as well.
The committee’s desire for a change in testing, with students taking a rapid test instead of a self test, if possible.
Nevertheless, according to ERT, there are many rumors that schools may have to start the first 1-2 weeks with distance learning. That is, the opening should be extended for a few days as there are many children who are ill.
More than 10,300 children aged 4-18 were active during the week of December 20-26 and this number is expected to increase.
There will also be changes to the health protocol regarding the detection of a confirmed case:
In case of case detection, all students, vaccinated and unvaccinated will be tested with a rapid test
At the same time, the “cross” (testing on students sitting next to, behind, or in front of the confirmed case) is abolished and a rapid test will now be performed on all students in the class.
The tests will be done every 5 days instead of 7
The quarantine will be valid for 5 days instead of 10
Plevris: The protocol that was followed had positive results
This scenario was confirmed by Thanos Plevris in an interview, noting that the will and the initial position is for the schools to open on January 10, but with a possible update of the health protocol.
Thanos Plevris stressed that one of the measures being considered for schools is to make more diagnostic tests. Specifically, he said: “The protocol that was followed, had very positive results, from there we will see the course of the cases, but also the discussion that will take place in the experts, and possibly the protocol will be updated, mainly more tests. We are waiting for the placement of the experts.
We believe that the schools have functioned very well in the past four months. At the end of the first fortnight, the measures will be re-evaluated as a whole, we will see the epidemiological situation of the country then “.
Nurseries and tutoring centers are opening
The nurseries, kindergartens and nurseries of the country, will operate normally, today Monday, January 3, 2022, according to the Ministry of Labor. The same goes for tutoring, although there is concern from owners about how they will work with many considering distance learning, as no new directive has been given to reopen.
Experts are concerned
The issue of reopening schools after the holidays has been raised by a number of scientists, many of whom are concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus brought on by the new variant of the virus.
Nikos Kapravelos, director of the 2nd ICU of Papanikolaou Hospital, after pointing out that he is in favor of compulsory vaccination, appeared in favor of extending the opening of schools, until “let’s see how this pressure of cases will be translated” into morbidity and hospitalization , as he said.
Pulmonology professor Nikos Tzanakis requested an extension of one week for the students’ vacation. “About one in seven children at the age of 0 to 20 is currently an active case. Every family has at least one active case…. It is so aggressive and so exponential (Omicron). Do we prefer parents to be at home with their children healthy? Or be at home and away from work with their children sick? ” the professor wondered.
Professor of Microbiology, Alkiviadis Vatopoulos, for his part stressed that the issue will be discussed in the Commission to make a proposal to the government.
“Schools are a controlled place, people need to see if and how many outbreaks we had in schools, that is, cases within the school. When the school closes depends on the rate of increase of cases, which may change, because now with Omicron we will probably have many more cases much faster. “The issues will be discussed,” he commented.