Parents in Italy to require Covid green pass to enter schools

Parents of schoolchildren in Italy are now required to produce a green pass in order to access school buildings, according to a new legislative decree passed on Thursday.

Photo: Pascal GUYOT / AFP
Photo: Pascal GUYOT / AFP

The decree extends the Covid-19 green pass requirement to more workers in schools and healthcare facilities, while authorities prepare a roadmap to broaden the scheme to further employees.

While the text of the decree itself does not specifically mention parents, Italian media outlets noted on Friday that only children and students are exempted from the obligation, meaning that anyone wanting to enter in order to pick up their child or attend parent-teacher meetings must have the pass.

The decision was made “to deal with the Covid-19 emergency in schools, higher education and social and health care facilities,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi is reported to have said during the cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The move was welcomed by schools, many of which had already adopted the measure of their own accord, reports the news daily Il Messaggero. 

READ ALSO: UPDATE: Italy approves mandatory Covid ‘green pass’ in more workplaces


“It seems to me an absolutely positive initiative,” Antonello Giannelli, president of the National Association of Deans, told the outlet, “because in this way we are further reducing the chances of contagion. We had asked on several occasions for the opportunity to extend the green pass to everyone because, otherwise, a hole would have been opened in the fight against contagion.”

Giannelli added that the move would require additional support for employees tasked with conducting the checks, and said that schools would need to hire more support staff. “For years now there have been fewer of them than we need, but the work to be done continues to increase,” he said.

The obligation will remain in place until at least December 21, 2021, which is when Italy’s state of emergency is currently due to expire. 

External workers and parents caught entering a school building without the pass could face fines of between €400 and €1,000 (different penalties apply for individuals employed directly by the school).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Italy has tightened the ’green pass’ rules in September

Andreas SOLARO / AFP

The digital pass has been required since August 6th in order to enter many cultural and leisure venues across Italy, including museums, theatres, gyms, and indoor seating in restaurants.  

The health certificate proves bearers have either been vaccinated with at least one dose, have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or have tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

READ ALSO: Italy sets fines of up to €1,000 for breaking Covid ‘green pass’ workplace rules

From September 1st the digital pass became a requirement for teachers and other school staff, while healthcare workers in Italy were already legally required to be fully vaccinated before the pass was introduced.

While the government is also considering whether to make Covid vaccinations obligatory for the entire population, it has pinned hopes on the scheme helping Italy reach the target of vaccinating 80 percent of the population over the age of 12 by the end of September.

The current figure as of Thursday stands at just under 73 percent, according to the latest government data.

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‘Not offensive’: Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani defended the policy of testing all arrivals from China for Covid-19 after Beijing said the policy "lacks scientific basis".

'Not offensive': Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

“It seems perfectly normal to me,” Tajani told Italian state broadcaster Rai on Tuesday. “Having a test is a way to protect people’s health. There is nothing offensive about it.”

“Lots of Chinese and Italians coming from China do it (anyway),” he claimed.

READ ALSO: Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

Italy was the first European country to make testing on arrival a requirement for passengers arriving on flights from China last week, after a surge in the infection rate there.

Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said on Wednesday that the screening requirement was “essential to ensure the surveillance and identification of any variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population”.

READ ALSO: Italy pushes for EU-wide China Covid measures as tests show no new variants

France and Spain have since introduced similar rules (as well as non-EU countries including the UK and USA) and there is now a meeting scheduled for Wednesday of the EU Integrated Policy Response Capability to discuss coordinating measures.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the screening policy would be “ineffective” if not done on a European level, as only people arriving on direct flights from China were being tested in Italy, not those with stopovers.

But the Chinese government on Tuesday hit out at countries introducing a policy of mandatory testing for people arriving from China.

“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travellers,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was quoted as saying at a briefing by AFP.

“This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable”.

She said Beijing may “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity”.