Orthodox priest offering blessing.

Pupils and students at schools in Athens wore face masks and showed documents stating they had tested negative for COVID-19 as they returned to classes for Greece's new school year.

School administrators in the southern Athens suburb of Glyfada monitored the temperatures of students as they entered the building.

Principal of the 2nd High School of Glyfada, Giannis Kavadas said with the precautions taken, he is optimistic for the new year.

Public and private sector employees will have to pay for weekly tests or carry a vaccination certificate to gain access to their place of work, while unvaccinated children at high schools are being given test kits distributed at government expense.

Schools at all grade levels reopened in ten Italian regions with the new requirement of the so-called "green pass" for teachers and school workers.

Under the new regulations, the green pass - the digital or paper certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from COVID-19 - will be required by all adults entering schools, including parents, as well as food service and cleaning staff - but is not required by students.

The schools reopen after the past two years of students being forced to alternate between classes to be taken from home through DAD (distance learning) and, for short periods, 50/70% in-person classes using gyms and labs as classrooms to maintain social distancing.

As the new academic year begins, Italy is keeping its anti-COVID rules from last year: staggered entry and exit times, masks for children over the age of six and reduced capacity on school buses, while social distancing is to be observed only if school spaces permit.

Almost 4 million students returned to school in the regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Lombardy, Piedmont, Umbria, Veneto, Valle d'Aosta and the Province of Trento, while schools in the other Italian regions will reopen over the coming days.