Italy to require Covid-19 pass for all teachers

Rome, Aug 5 (EFE).- Instructors at every level of Italy’s educational system will be required to present the Covid-19 health certificate, the government said Thursday.

“The government’s choice is to wager on the certificate to avoid closures and protect freedom,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza told a press conference following a Cabinet meeting.

The so-called green pass attests that the bearer has either had at least one dose of vaccine, tested negative for Covid-19 or already recovered from the coronavirus.

Starting Friday, the pass will be necessary to enter stadiums, museums, theatres, cinemas, swimming pools, gyms and similar establishments and to dine indoors at a restaurant.

The pass mandate for educators, which will also apply to university students, is to take effect next month.

Teachers at primary and secondary schools who fail to present the certificate will face suspension and loss of pay, Education Minister Patrizio Bianchi said.

Because the universities are autonomous, it will be up to individual institutions to adopt their own sanctions for non-compliance, he said.

“We must return fully to in-person schooling and vaccination is the only way to do it,” Bianchi said.

While the Cabinet agreed on the new measures for the education sector, an expected extension of the green pass requirement to all public transportation did not materialize.

Instead, ministers settled on making the pass obligatory to board a commercial airplane and for most inter-regional travel by boat, train or bus, with an exception for ferries linking the southern end of the Italian peninsula with the island of Sicily.

“If despite the significant numbers of infections, such as those of Spain or France, the greater part of European countries are not closing, it is simply because we have the vaccine,” Speranza said.

Nearly 34 million Italians, or 62.23 percent of the population over the age of 12, have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest official figures.

The government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, which includes every parliamentary party except the far-right Brothers of Italy, has struggled on some occasions to bridge the gap between those of its components that favor rigorous pandemic rules and those that prefer a looser approach.

But Thursday’s Cabinet session saw unanimous agreement on the expansion of the pass mandate to education, hailed by Speranza as “the triumph of the country.” EFE gsm/dr

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