All unvaccinated teachers in Greece will have to show a negative coronavirus test or proof of Covid-19 antibodies in order to enter schools this upcoming school year, according to an amendment presented by the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs on Wednesday.
The new school year in Greece starts in early September.
Vaccinated educators will be able to enter schools for in-person lessons only with proof of inoculation. The measure applies to primary, middle, and high schools in the country.
All those who don’t comply with the order, or who refuse to present the relevant documents, will be placed under suspension, according to the measure, which has been submitted for the Greek Parliament’s consideration.
Over 70% of educators in Greece have already received both doses of the vaccine.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday that he would not push for the mandatory vaccination of teachers in Greece, but that there would be frequent testing for those who chose not to get the shot.
“We want students to return to school as safely as possible,” Mitsotakis stated on Tuesday.
If passed, the move by Greece’s Education Ministry will be the latest in a list of pushes to vaccinate the Greek public.
Greece pushes to convince unvaccinated to receive the shot
In late June, Greek Prime Minister announced that all healthcare workers in the country, including all those who work in elder care or in facilities for those with special needs, will have to receive the shot. Those who refuse to be vaccinated will be put on unpaid leave.
In total, 90% of Greek doctors and 73% of nurses in the country have now been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Any healthcare workers — including doctors, nurses, paramedics, and administrative support staff in private or public hospitals, clinics, and care facilities — who refuse to be vaccinated will lose their social security during their unpaid leave if Parliament approves the motion.
The suspension without pay will last until the person receives the vaccine or “as long as the pandemic lasts,” according to a statement from the Ministry.
The legislation will take effect as of August 16 for workers in nursing homes and beginning on September 1 for healthcare staff.
Additionally, all those who work in the tourism industry who are unvaccinated will have to take two coronavirus tests each week, unless they get the shot.
As of Wednesday afternoon, over five million Greeks have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Coronavirus cases on the rise in the country
Vaccination has become the focus of Greek officials in their fight against the pandemic as the fast-spreading Delta variant threatens the country with increased transmission of the virus.
Greece recorded a rise in the number of daily coronavirus in the country on Tuesday, as 3,593 total cases were recorded across the country. This is the highest number of coronavirus cases recorded in a single day in Greece since April.
The figure marks 1,523 more instances of the virus than the 2,070 cases that had been recorded on Monday. The average age of those who tested positive for the virus in Greece is 41.