On Saturday, Greece’s Education Minister Niki Kerameus announced the closure of all primary schools, kindergartens, and daycares across the country starting Monday. The new measure will last until November 30.
Middle and high schools have been closed since the start of the nation-wide lockdown on November 7.
The only exception to the new closures is Special Education schools, which will remain open.
Pupils will be able to continue their education both by attending online classes and by watching educational broadcasting programs from the second TV channel of the state broadcaster ERT2.
The decision was made to limit the movement of parents and grandparents going to and from schools to pick up their children, rather than to prevent students themselves from spreading the virus.
Studies show that young children under the age of 10 do not spread the virus as much as older children and adults do, one reason why primary schools and kindergartens remained open during the lockdown.
The mass movement of parents and grandparents at school drop-off and pick-up time serves as a real threat for the spread of the virus, however.
On Friday, government spokesman Stelios Petsas stated that Greek officials still “observe a high degree of mobility” among the country’s citizens, despite the lockdown that has been in place for two weeks in Thessaloniki and one week in the rest of Greece.
Petsas warned Friday that if citizens did not stay home as much as possible, the closure of schools would be inevitable to limit movement in the country.
The move comes two days after Greek health officials announced a record number of deaths and cases in the country on Thursday. A total of 50 people with the virus lost their lives, 310 covid patients were intubated in Greece’s ICUs, and 3,316 new cases were recorded.
On Friday, 3,038 new cases were diagnosed in Greece, and a record 336 people with the virus were intubated.