Schools reopened in much of Italy on Monday for the first time since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in early March. Some 5.6 million pupils are back in class in 12 regions, plus the autonomous province of Trento.
The reopening of Italy’s schools is a big test for the State and for Premier Giuseppe Conte’s government. “Today is an important day for the national community that we are looking to with confidence and enthusiasm,” said Conte.
“We don’t hide the fact that there are difficulties. “But there is constant monitoring and we will make an initial assessment this evening. “I also want to say that we are investing a great deal in schools this year”.
President Sergio Mattarella inaugurated the school year on Monday in Vo’, a Veneto town that was one of Italy’s first coronavirus hotspots. “Never more than on this occasion, the inauguration of the school year has the value and significance of a restart for the whole of society,” said Mattarella. “The youngsters feel it and the adults and the institutions understand it.
“We are faced with a decisive challenge”. Pupils must be at least one metre apart from each other while in class. They are allowed to lower their facemasks during lessons. Pupils at some schools where it is not possible to respect the one-metre rule, however, will have to wear masks throughout the day. Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said 94 million masks have been sent to Italy’s schools.
“The students have a great desire to go back to class and reacquire sociality,” Azzolina told RAI television. “This year will be complex and we know that. “But we have worked hard and constructed a prevention strategy that will function if everyone does their bit with responsibility”.