The regions have proposed to the government to change the rules that activate distance learning (DAD) in the classrooms, with the aim of avoiding it as much as possible. The proposal concerns students starting from elementary schools: in the case of two students who tested positive, the regions proposed to activate a 5-day self-surveillance for vaccinated students and a 10-day quarantine with DAD for the unvaccinated, with a mandatory test at the end of the period (self-monitoring replaces quarantine: it means checking that no symptoms develop in the days following contact).
At the moment the rules are more restrictive: for pupils aged 6 to 12 the DAD begins for the whole class with two positive cases and for students over 12 when at least three positives are found.
In kindergartens, nursery schools and kindergartens, nothing would change: it will continue to trigger the DAD and quarantine only if a positive pupil is found in the class.
The regions had presented their proposal to the Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi last week. According to Massimiliano Fedriga, president of Friuli Venezia Giulia and of the conference of regions, the new rules would guarantee “school activities in the presence as much as possible” and could “speed up and encourage vaccination of the pediatric population”. The issue will likely be discussed this week in the Council of Ministers with a view to the resumption of the school, which is set between 7 and 10 January depending on the region.
Many politicians and trade unionists said they were opposed to the proposal by the regions, which was defined as “discriminatory” because it makes a distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated students. Currently 9.2 percent of children between 5 and 11 years old have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while between 12 and 19 years old, 80 percent have been vaccinated.
Among the opponents there are also the two Undersecretaries for Education. The Northern League player Rossano Sasso said that with the increase in infections among children and the poor vaccination coverage, three million children would be sent to DAD by decree. According to Undersecretary Barbara Floridia, exponent of the 5 Star Movement, one cannot think of discriminating between vaccinated and unvaccinated children. «Continue to invest resources for safety, indeed increase the resources for the school, and improve the protocol so that it is more effective. But the schools must remain open, ”he said.
According to Maddalena Gissi, general secretary of the CISL school, there would be privacy and didactic problems because those in the classroom need all the attention of the teacher, while those who follow from the PC have different times and needs than the other students. “The half measures on the school do not hold, we have already seen it,” said Gissi.
In recent months, the regions had responded to many of the requests made to the government, such as the cancellation of the quarantine for close contacts vaccinated with booster. The latest proposal is just one of the novelties concerning the school and which, unlike the new rules for the DAD, have already been confirmed.
The decree approved by the government before Christmas introduced the obligation of FFP2 masks for school operators and in recent days the ministry has begun the reconnaissance to understand how many will have to be distributed by the commissioner. According to the rules, masks must be worn by staff who work in contact with students, especially in classes where there are students who do not wear masks because they are exempt for health reasons.
In addition, teams of Army doctors and nurses will be in operation starting in January to help regions and health organizations manage tampons at school.
In recent weeks, due to the increase in infections, tampon management in many regions has been long and chaotic, with long queues of people waiting outside the buffer points. In the regions that request it, the army will take care of part of the administration of swabs in schools, analysis and reporting through the military laboratories. The government has foreseen an expenditure of 9 million euros.