Wearing masks and holding banners reading “a mask is not enough” thousands of school students marched in downtown Athens on Thursday demanding more and effective measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
The students demand smaller class-rooms with maximum 15 students to avoid crowding, the hiring of more teachers and cleaning staff.
The new school year started on September 9 without any mandatory COVID-19 test for teachers and students and classes up to 26 students.
Within one week 159 students were tested positive to COVID-19. By September 24, a total of 94 school-classes or whole schools were shut down by health authorities due to coronavirus cases among students and/or personnel.
Attacking the government and the mainstream media, the students said that the government tells them there is no money to hire more teachers needed for the option of smaller class-rooms.
“New Democracy gov’t said that they will buy 16 Rafale fighter jets from France at a cost approaching 4 billion Euros. We inform them that this money is enough to hire over 300,000 teachers for one year!” the student’s Coordination body said in a statement.
School occupation banner: Money – There is for (left column) There is not for (right column)
Students have been occupying schools across the country since the first days the education facilities opened their gates.
Parents are standing on students’ side highlighting that the existing and chronic problems of education and the insufficient measures of the government for the safe opening of schools, are what motivate students today.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Greek Supreme Confederation of Students’ Parents (ASGME), emphasized that students are justified in mobilizing, “because they experience first hand the shortage of teachers, the inappropriate school buildings, the lack of cleanliness in schools in a period of the pandemic, the overcrowded school-classes.
The Patents’ Federation in Attica goes so far to speak also of “slander against the students’ protests.” The According to the Federation there are “ruthless attacks against the students.” claims that they protest the use of masks and that they are “moving health bombs.”
Gymnasium and High-school Teachers Union (OLME) supported the students’ rally and held a 3-hour work stoppage to join the march.