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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

Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

“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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COVID-19 RULES

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Masks will no longer be required in the workplace but Italian companies will have the right to impose restrictions for employees deemed "at risk".

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Representatives from the Italian Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health and all major national unions collectively signed off on Thursday a new “shared protocol” (protocollo condiviso) for the implementation of anti-Covid measures in private workplaces. 

Although the full text of the bill will only be made available to the public sometime next week, portions of the document have already been released to the media, thus disclosing the government’s next steps in the fight against the virus.

The most relevant update concerns face masks, which will no longer be mandatory in private workplaces. 

However, the text specifies, FFP2 face masks remain “an important protective item aimed at safeguarding workers’ health”. As such, employers will have the right to autonomously impose the use of face coverings on categories of workers considered “at risk”.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Notably, face coverings may remain mandatory for those working in “indoor settings shared by multiple employees” or even in “outdoor settings where social distancing may not be practicable”. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions (soggetti fragili) may also be subject to such rules, which, it is worth reminding, are left to the employer’s discretion. 

Alongside mask-related restrictions, employers will also have the right to have their staff undergo temperature checks prior to entering the workplace. In such cases, anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5C will be denied access to the workplace and will be asked to temporarily self-isolate pending further indications from their own doctor.

In line with previous measures, companies will be required to continue supplying sanitising products free of charge and regulate access to common areas (canteens, smoking areas, etc.) so as to avoid gatherings.

Additionally, employers will be advised to keep incentivising smart working (lavoro agile), as it has proved to be “a valuable tool to curb infection, especially for at-risk individuals”.

Provided that the country’s infection curve registers no significant changes, the updated protocol will remain in place until October 31st, when it will yet again be reviewed by the relevant governmental and social parties. 

With the latest round of measures, Italy has now scrapped all Covid-related health measures, except the requirement to wear face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings, and self-isolation provisions for those testing positive. 

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Italy’s infection curve has been rising significantly since the beginning of June. From June 1st to June 14th, Covid’s R (spreading rate) rate rose back over 1 for the first time since April 8th. Also, from June 17th to June 23rd, the virus’s incidence rate was 504 cases every 100,000 residents, up by 62 per cent on the previous week.

According to Claudio Mastroianni, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sapienza University of Rome, “with 25 per cent of daily Covid swabs coming back positive and a R rate over 1, the infection curve will likely rise at least until mid-July”.

However, albeit acknowledging the rising number of positive cases, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa has so far categorically excluded the possibility of re-introducing lapsed Covid measures, saying that it’ll be a “restriction-free summer”.

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