Teachers will be allowed to work in Italy’s schools regardless of their Covid-19 vaccination status from September, according to new guidelines issued by the education ministry.
The memo sent out to schools ahead of the new academic year confirmed that the Covid vaccination requirement for teachers expires on August 31st, along with many other health measures.
Since December 2021, teachers who refused the vaccine have been suspended without pay, along with police officers, emergency service workers and many other public sector staff in Italy.
On April 1st, unvaccinated teachers were permitted to return to school premises but were not allowed to teach classes.
The controversial rule is now set to be scrapped altogether in the 2022-23 academic year, meaning Italy’s ‘no vax’ teachers can go back to the classroom.
Masks will no longer be a requirement for students or teachers, and there will be no more distance learning – or ‘didattica a distanza‘ (DAD) in Italian – according to the guidelines.
Antonello Giannelli, president of Italy’s National Association of Principals, told news agency Adnkronos he was “not worried” about the number of unvaccinated teachers, which is “very low, just a few thousand”.
He said a bigger concern was “the millions of students, especially those aged between five and 15, who are not yet vaccinated”.
Italian virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco told newspaper La Repubblica on Monday that “we don’t yet have an exact manual” for managing the pandemic “but at this stage we have to live with it”.
He said Italy’s anti-vax teachers were able to return to class “because of the decision of the great majority of Italians to get vaccinated”.
The education ministry said may bring back some rules if deemed necessary by health authorities, La Repubblica reported, including a requirement for teachers and students to wear FFP2 masks.
Italy’s schools restart in mid-September, with the exact dates varying by region.