One by one municipalities in Greece have ordered primary and secondary education schools and kindergartens to close as the seasonal flu is in full peak.
Dozens of schools and kindergartens have been ordered to close until the weekend, as more and more toddlers, pupils and students have been infected by the flu and other seasonal infections.
According to Greek authorities, the infections have affected mostly pupils, while the situation among students in gymnasiums and lyceums is less serious. Also secondary education students have been affected, however, the number of absent students in not as high as in primary education schools and kindergartens.
The number of affected pupils who are absent from the classes is extremely high, the closure of schools is considered mandatory.
On Wednesday, 36 schools and kindergartens have been ordered to close in Ioannina, Epirus and more than 25 schools in Thessaloniki. 9 schools have been closed also in Preveza, south Epirus.
All schools in Drama, East Macedonia, were ordered to close until the weekend.
There, too, students have fallen victim to seasonal infections, but their numbers are not as high.
So far, no schools have been ordered to close in Attica, where, however, also there pupils and students have been affected by the flu and the seasonal infections.
One kindergarten in Marousi and a few in Penteli were closed though until the weekend.
A teacher was telling me that in many cases the parents are to blame as they don not keep their children at home for as long as they should. “We tell them to keep them for 3 more days at after the fever falls, but they do not follow our instructions.”
Children return to kindergartens and schools while they haven’t fully recover yet and they infect each other.
“Working parents have no where to leave their children,” said a friend who is taking care of her 12-year-old grand-daughter who return from school on Tuesday with high fever, sore throat and coughing. One-third of the pupils is absent but they did not close the school, she said.
13 people have died in Greece since the beginning of the flu season in October, the majority of them in the last two weeks.
In Chania, on the island of Crete, there are currently six people hospitalized in Intensive Care Units due to flu. Among them are five people aged 38-83 and one baby.
Health authorities urge citizens to get vaccination even now, as the flu virus is circulating until mid-March.