Italy to suspend teachers and block pay after five days of absence for not having Green Pass.
The Italian government is to make the covid 'Green Pass' mandatory for teachers and school staff, as well as staff and students of universities, when the new academic year begins in September.
The Green Pass, or Certificazione Verde, shows that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19, and does not apply to children under 12.
From 6 August the health certificate will be required for indoor dining in restaurants and bars as well as being mandatory for access to museums, cinemas, gyms, swimming pools and sports stadiums.
The government's latest Green Pass measures, part of a new decree, were announced jointly on Thursday evening by health minister Roberto Speranza, education minister Patrizio Bianchi, and transport minister Enrico Giovannini.
Minister Speranza underlined the importance of the Green Pass in allowing schools to open "in presence and in safety" and described vaccines as a "game changer."
The price of covid tests will be set at €8 for the 12-18 age group and €15 for everyone else. The government reportedly ruled out providing free tests for students over concerns it might discourage them from getting vaccinated.
Minister Bianchi said that for school and university employees who fail to comply with the new measures, after five days their absence would be regarded as "unjustified" and would lead to the suspension of employment and pay.
Bianchi noted that 86 per cent of school staff have already been vaccinated, and said that penalties for university students would be decided by the rectors of the individual institutions.
The move to make vaccines compulsory for teachers comes after Italy made it obligatory for all health workers in the public and private sector to get vaccinated or face penalties.
Minister Giovannini said that as of 1 September the Green Pass would be required of passengers on domestic flights, inter-regional ferries (with the exception of the Strait of Messina) as well as on long-distance trains and buses that connect more than two regions.
In addition the maximum capacity of trains would be increased from 50 per cent to 80 per cent. The Green Pass will not be mandatory for buses and subways of local public transport networks or for regional trains.
The Green Pass certificate, which comes in digital or paper versions, was introduced in June and until now it has been used for travel within the EU and to faciliate access to large events or nursing homes.
However the scope of the pass will be expanded significantly from 6 August, after which it will be required for indoor dining in restaurants and bars, as well as for a wide range of cultural and leisure venues.
The pass will be mandatory for access to museums, cinemas, theatres, gyms, swimming pools, theme parks, spas, wellness centres, festivals, fairs, casinos, bingo halls and sports stadiums.
The pass will not be necessary for consuming food or drink at tables outdoors or drinking a coffee while standing at the bar.
The government announced earlier on Thursday that more than 33 million people over the age of 12 (62 per cent of Italy's population) has been fully vaccinated against covid-19.