Schools: Back to school with new measures – What will apply for students and teachers

Schools , kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools and lyceums will open on Monday, September 13, all over the country .

The students, after many months of distance education, return to their natural space, hoping that the schools will not have to close again, as is the goal of the Ministry of Education.

The students will arrive at the school units tomorrow at 8.15 ‘and will remain until the consecration, according to the planning of each school, which will include instructions for the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the correct use of the mask , the application of the program schedule, the distribution of the books of the new school year per desk and the general operation of the school.

The new measures for schools
Students and teachers will come to the school with a certificate of vaccination or a certificate of past illness (last semester) or a statement of negative self-diagnostic (self) test for students, which will be held twice a week (before Tuesday and Friday), up to 24 hours before attending school, or a negative laboratory test certificate for teachers, which should also be performed twice a week (Tuesday and Friday) at the responsibility and cost of the employee.

For the first week the self test should be done on Sunday or Monday morning before school.

If a confirmed case of COVID-19 is detected , he / she is expelled from school and remains in isolation for at least 10 days. He returns to school after at least ten days and three 24 hours after the fever has completely subsided and the other symptoms have improved. It is not necessary to present a medical certificate to return to school.

In addition, for close contacts, an increased laboratory test is provided for a period of seven days as follows:

* For unvaccinated students and teachers of the department in which a case was found:

-two laboratory tests – rapid in addition to those provided

-If the unvaccinated students were sitting near the case, they undergo daily self-diagnostic tests (on the days when the two laboratories do not).

* For vaccinated students and teachers of the department in which a case was found:

-two self-diagnostic tests regardless of the position in which they sit.

A school department will suspend its lifelong operation and teaching will take place through distance learning, when confirmed COVID-19 cases are detected in 50% + 1 of its students.

In each school unit, the COVID-19 Teacher Association is appointed by the Teachers’ Association and its deputy, with responsibilities, among other things, to inform and educate the staff regarding the timely identification and management of suspected cases of COVID-19 infection and to communicate with the families of the students and the competent bodies and services such as EODY.

Kerameos: The goal for schools is twofold this year
“Our goal for this year is twofold: on the one hand, to ensure the lifelong educational process with the weapon of vaccination, and on the other, the additional protection measures proposed by the Committee of Experts, such as intensive laboratory and self-diagnostic tests and the mandatory use of the mask. on the other hand, the implementation of important innovations for a more modern, freer and autonomous school “, said the Minister of Education, Niki Kerameos, to APE-MPE.

The introduction of new courses, curricula, the upgrading of vocational education and training, the strengthening of the Model and Experimental Schools, among others, “gives a new impetus to the educational system”. Characteristically, Ms. Kerameos spoke about “new opportunities and challenges” and added that “the changes that are coming create a new reality at school”.

Innovations and challenges
As of this year, the Skills Workshops are included in the program of all kindergartens, primary schools, high schools after their pilot implementation in 218 schools. Kindergarten will be compulsory from the age of four for everyone, while English will also be introduced. Emphasis is placed on cultivating skills, for example critical thinking, empathy, problem solving, collaboration through topics such as “road safety, environmental respect, educational robotics, sex education, volunteering, entrepreneurship and more”. Also, pilot “123 new study programs in General Education” are starting, explained Mrs. Kerameos.

The final instructions of the Ministry of Education
The final instructions for the “premiere” of the new year in schools were given by the Ministry of Education on Friday.

At a time when experts are expressing fears about the opening of schools, leaving open the possibility that they may need to close again in a few months, the Ministry of Education is rushing to answer all the key questions of parents, students and teachers.

Here are the answers to the 14 “SOS” questions for the new school year:

1. With what documents will the students come to the school units?

Students must demonstrate within the classroom a vaccination certificate or certificate of illness within the last semester or the COVID-19 school card with a negative result issued by the self-testing.gov.gr platform. Compulsory self-diagnosis for students of all Primary and Secondary Schools, except those who have completed their vaccination (if they belong to the age group where the vaccination is recommended) or have a history of illness within the last two semesters, per week (Tuesday and Friday), up to 24 hours before school.

2. With what documents will the teachers come to the school units?
Teachers, members of the Special Teaching Staff (SPT) and the Special Auxiliary Staff (SPC) of the school units, must have either a vaccination certificate against COVID-19 or a certificate of illness of the latter or a negative laboratory test result (rapid antigen test or molecular test (RT-PCR)) which should be taken twice a week, up to 48 hours before arrival on Tuesday and Friday , and demonstrate it before assuming their duties to the Director / Supervisor.

3. What happens when a student or staff member develops symptoms that may be due to a COVID-19 infection?

If a student or staff member develops suspicious symptoms outside the school premises, he / she remains at home and the school is notified. If symptoms occur when they are at school, they are isolated, the COVID-19 manager communicates with the family to pick up the child in the case of a student, and a medical evaluation follows. If necessary, a diagnostic test for COVID-19 is performed. Pending the outcome, the suspected case remains in isolation, while the school continues to operate normally.

4. Who is in charge of the school to manage the issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

In each school unit, the COVID-19 Teacher Association is appointed by the Teachers’ Association and its deputy, with responsibilities, among other things, to inform the staff about the timely identification and management of suspected cases of COVID-19 infection and to communicate with the families. of students and the competent bodies and services such as EODY.

5. What happens if a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19?
The student’s parent / guardian or staff member shall immediately inform the COVID-19 admin of the school unit and / or the school principal of the positive result of the COVID-19 diagnostic test. The school’s COVID-19 manager, among others: communicates with the families of the children in the student’s department, with the relevant Directorate of Education and with the competent Directorate of Public Health and Social Welfare, and ensures thorough cleaning and local application of disinfectant on the surfaces of the school premises where the case occurred. The Directorate of Public Health and Social Welfare contacts the EODY for assistance in the epidemiological investigation and risk assessment, if needed.

6. When and under what conditions does a student or member of the school staff return to school, if positive?

A student or staff member who has a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 incident returns to school after at least 10 days have elapsed since the onset of symptoms AND three 24 hours after complete fever remission (without antipyretics) AND improvement of others symptoms. In the case of patients with very severe disease or immunosuppression, the time required from the onset of symptoms may reach 20 days, according to the opinion of the treating physician. The return of the confirmed cases to the school does not require a new test and it is not necessary to present a medical certificate to the school. This is because the virus can be detected by molecular testing for quite some time after recovery, even though the individual is not contagious.

7. What happens when a student or teacher who has been diagnosed with a suspected COVID-19 case is diagnosed with a coronavirus ?

The child or adult can return to school at least 24 hours after the fever has completely subsided (without taking antipyretics) and the symptoms have improved – as this is the time to return to normal viral respiratory infections. It is not necessary to present a medical certificate to the school to return to school.

8. What happens until the diagnosis of a student or staff member who shows symptoms?

Until the result of the diagnostic test is issued, the person who shows symptoms that may occur in the context of COVID-19 remains temporarily in home isolation (provided that the doctor has judged that his condition does not require hospitalization). Further management depends on the result. The close contacts of the suspected incident normally come to the school with an instruction for close monitoring of their health and the part of the student (or in which the teacher taught) operates normally.

9. How is the close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case defined in the school unit?

Close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection are described in detail in the protocol “Principles of Management of Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Infection Units in School Units” and include, subject to conditions, students belonging to the same or a different department with CO -19 and coexisted with him in the classroom for 48 hours before the onset of his symptoms, students who in their department were systematically taught by a teacher who is a confirmed case of COVID-19, teachers who were systematically taught in a class with a student who is a confirmed case of COVID-19 , persons who have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or direct physical contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case,as well as students or staff members who in the 48 hours before the onset of symptoms moved to or from school along with the confirmed case on the same school bus, taxi or similar private means of transport.

10. What is provided for close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 incident in schools?

All persons falling within the definition of “close contact” of a confirmed COVID-19 incident in the school unit, after being identified and recorded by the school’s COVID-19 manager should continue their activities and not be placed in quarantine at home. ), but should undergo additional diagnostic tests within 7 days of the last contact with the confirmed case, depending on the category to which they belong. Particularly:
• Vaccinated without a history of illness in the last semester: two additional diagnostic laboratory tests with rapid antigen detection test (rapid test) free of charge at the Fixed Checkpoints of EODY, in addition to the preventive systematic tests performed per week to attend the unit. If they were sitting next to or on the desk immediately in front or behind the case, then in addition to the above two rapid tests and the two self-tests for attending school, they will have to do 3 extra self-tests that week which will give them supply the school (schools will have a stock of self-test for this purpose). That is, these students will be tested daily for 7 days from the last contact with the case.
• Vaccinated or people with a history of illness in the last six months: two self-tests within 7 days of the last contact with the confirmed case.
The aim of the very increased controls in case of confirmed COVID-19 incidents is to ensure the living operation of our schools. Close contact with the case will continue to closely monitor their health and be on high alert for possible symptoms of suspected COVID-19 infection for 14 days after exposure.

11. What is provided in case of cohabitation with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

Students or staff members who have neither been fully vaccinated nor have a history of illness in the last six months, and who are in close contact with a confirmed case of living under the same roof, should be quarantined for 10 days after last contact with the case, and return to school activities on the 11th day, if they remain asymptomatic, and with a negative laboratory test result [rapid antigen test or molecular test (RT-PCR)] on the 10th day.

If the test is negative: lift the quarantine, but individuals must strictly adhere to personal protection measures and monitor their health for symptoms until the end of 14 days.
-If the test is positive: follow the current protocol for the isolation of COVID-19 cases without the need to repeat the test.  

12. What other prevention measures will be implemented at school?

Along with the vaccination of students and teachers and the new measures of increased laboratory and self-diagnostic tests, all the previous measures of prevention and protection from the coronavirus are still in force, such as:

-the obligatory use of a mask indoors and outdoors (except during exercise and food),

-the different breaks for fixed groups of students,

-fixed groups of students in sports and other activities,

-the observance of distances and personal hygiene rules – use of antiseptics,

– adequate, regular ventilation of the premises,

-specific measures for adapted operation of canteens, computer labs, use of musical instruments, etc.,

-educational excursions, visits, school walks, student conferences, competitions and in-school events in compliance with all general and specific measures, as the case may be,

-possibility of arrival and departure of students / three to and from the school units, at different times and from different entrances / exits,

-the meticulous cleaning of the halls.

13. When will a department or school close?
A school department, general education or special education and training, will suspend its lifelong operation and teaching will be done through distance learning when it simultaneously detects confirmed cases of COVID-19 in more than half (50% + 1) of its students.

1 4. When will e-learning take place?
Distance learning will be provided:
(a) In case of suspension of school operation due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in more than half of the students of the department and
(b) For students under 12 years of age who have one of the serious underlying diseases, which are listed in Annex I of the protocol “Measures to protect and prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus in schools”.
Students 12 years of age and older with severe underlying illnesses will typically attend their classes for life, due to the possibility of being vaccinated. At the request of their treating physician and provided the required approval by a competent committee, they will be able to participate in the educational process through distance learning.
The cases of children who live with a person with a serious underlying disease and should stay away from school using e-learning are now drastically reduced as there is a possibility of vaccinating people with underlying diseases. Only in the case of cohabitation with persons for whom, due to severe immunosuppression, it is documented that their vaccination may not provide the required protection, and after all alternatives have been sought first, may students who cohabit with a person with a serious subject be allowed participate in the educational process through distance learning.

Source – newsit.gr

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