After a six-month shutdown, the longest in Europe, Italy reopened most of its schools, testing the organisational skills of the government, the nerves of teachers and the self-control of excited students.
Schools in 13 of the country’s 20 regions cautiously resumed face-to-face lessons, calling back 5.6 million students to their desks. The remaining seven regions have decided to delay for another week.
Battling to halt the spread of coronavirus, the government shut the nation’s schools in early March. Efforts to make classrooms safe again and limit the possibility of fresh contagion have been mired in controversy.
“At the beginning there are going to be problems,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.
In Italy, about 35,500 people have died of COVID-19, the largest death toll in the European Union, and the number of new cases has picked up recently raising fears of a second wave.