Italy closes schools again

Italy decided on Tuesday to partially tighten its anti-pandemic restrictions. Among other things, all schools in the hard-hit red zones will be closed again. On the same day a Unicef report appeared which documents a huge educational crisis: 168 million children worldwide are currently excluded from classes. Is keeping school closed the right approach?

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La Stampa (IT) /

Education always sacrificed first

Schools must stay closed but restaurants are allowed to sell take away meals until 10 pm? This is completely incoherent, fumes sociologist Chiara Saraceno in La Stampa:

“It is unclear according to what criteria purchasing a few bottles of wine or a take-away meal can be considered an essential requirement, while education is clearly considered far less important. I do not dispute the need to prevent children and young people from spending hours together in the same place in the context of raging contagion. ... Other countries are doing that too. But with more coherence: if you have to close things down, you close everything and avoid creating a situation in which schools are the only places that are considered unsafe, while children and adults can happily congregate in large groups near snack bars, in parks or in private homes despite formal bans.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Foolish optimism won't get us anywhere

For philosopher Michela Marzano the decision reflects a realistic approach. She writes in La Repubblica:

“What point is there in promising something every week and then not keeping your word, in closing and opening and closing again? ... In asserting that pupils won't get infected in school and then saying the exact opposite, perhaps adding that if the teachers are vaccinated it will be okay. ... When will we vaccinate the pupils' parents? What about their uncles and aunts? Or their grandparents? Too few vaccine doses are currently available. At the same time, the coronavirus variants are multiplying. ... Don't waste time criticising distance learning now - it would be better to improve the structures and make it accessible to everyone by distributing tablets and computers.”