Greek high schools reopen after five months of closure

Athens (AFP) –


Greece's high schools reopened on Monday after a five-month closure to curb coronavirus infections with precautions including virus tests for students and teachers twice per week, the education minister said.

High school classes had been held online since November 7. Monday's reopening saw some schools hold classes outdoors.

Primary and secondary schools, which had briefly reopened, remain closed across the country.

Every Monday and Thursday, high school students and teachers will have to be screened for Covid-19 with self-tests available free in pharmacies.

"These self-tests will be a valuable tool," Education Minister Niki Kerameus told ERT television.

A positive self-test will result in a 48-hour quarantine and another screening in a clinic. A second positive test will lead to 14 days of quarantine.

As of Sunday evening, 236 students and 172 teachers had tested positive with the self-tests while not showing symptoms, Star television reported.

Students and teachers must also wear masks, recess will be staggered to limit crowds and canteens will be closed.

With the country still in the grip of the pandemic, the reopening has worried some health experts.

Greece has reported more than 293,000 infections and over 8,800 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

On Sunday, 1,718 new cases were reported, and hospitals in Athens and Thessaloniki remain overcrowded.