France reopens schools with new security measures | Voice of America

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Millions of French children returned to school on Tuesday under new safety rules, despite a recent rise in viral infections, as part of a nationwide experiment to reduce inequalities and revive the economy.From his social media accounts, French President Emmanuel Macron urged people to wear masks. In an Instagram video, directed to more than 12 million French schoolchildren going to school, Macron said while wearing a mask: “The virus is still there, and you have to protect yourself. ”

On Twitter, Macron wrote: “The challenges of this new school year are many, but we are finally all together! Let us show the same responsibility as in recent months. Welcome to all! ”

Masks are mandatory throughout the school day – breaks and music lessons included – for all students 11 years of age and over, as well as all teachers and school staff. Handwashing stations, social distancing, and quirky playtime are also part of the new routine.

Teachers and parents expressed concern about the new rules and what they would mean for the upcoming school year, but generally supported the preventive rules.

Masks are also mandatory from Tuesday in all French workplaces, as the government is encouraging parents to return to work while trying to control infections.

France reported 3,082 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, down from the past few days, but still higher than its European neighbors and well above the few hundred daily cases reported in May and June, before the holidays d summer do not cause a further increase in infections. France has more than 30,600 deaths linked to the virus.

Nations across Europe are looking for ways to get children safely back to the classroom and get their economies working again. At the same time, officials have expressed fears of a “second wave” of infections as people step inside and spend more time together as fall approaches.

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