Most Italian schools are set to reopen from September 14th, but the Covid-19 safety rules are still being finalised. File photo: AFP
The government's technical and scientific committee (CTS) ruling against singing in class was backed by Italian virologist Andrea Crisanti, who said in an interview on the Rai 3 TV channel that “It's better to avoid singing in the classroom”.
He said “the risk of spreading the virus rises sharply,” citing a recent study which found that “if there is one positive case in a choir they can infect 50.“
“The droplets of breath have a fall radius of two meters, which can increase with singing,” Crisanti explained. “Masks can help but I don't know how much. Nobody knows what the minimum distance is to sing together safely”.
Crisanti also reportedly said he believes students should wear masks when seated at their desks in school to minimise the risks. Current official guidelines state masks only need to be worn when moving around school premises.
Face masks are set to be mandatory for all children over the age of six when in school except for gym class, eating in canteens and answering a teacher.
Italian authorities also said they have also delivered 2.4 million individual desks to allow better distancing, and will hand out millions of face masks and as well as 170,000 litres of disinfectant gel every week.
However some teachers have voiced concerns about everything from a lack of clarity on protocols, to concerns about the potential risks involved with teachers having to travel weekly across Italy to work and back.
Meanwhile on Friday, a survey found that seven out of 10 parents are worried about the reopening of schools.
The main causes for concern were uncertainty about the rules and financial insecurity, according to the results of the survey by charity Save the Children.
Several regions including Puglia, Calabria and Abruzzo have postponed reopening until September 24th, and others are considering doing the same.
Most regions' schools will go back on September 14th, while the Bolzano region restarts classes on the 7th.