Covid rules for back to school in France “unclear”, according to unions – .

Covid rules for back to school in France “unclear”, according to unions – .

The Ministry of Education has come under fire for making Covid health protocols for back to school not sufficiently clear or secure by teachers’ unions.
Parents and teachers have been waiting for weeks for details on the new measures for the start of the September 2 school year.

The Education Ministry revealed in July that a four-tier system will be used for the next academic year with different rules for mask wearing, playing sports and social distancing at each level.

Schools will be placed at different levels depending on the health situation at the national level.

Yesterday (August 22), the Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, announced that schools would return to level 2, or yellow, on September 2.

This means:

  • Masks must be worn indoors and in outdoor spaces according to local rules by all students except those in kindergarten
  • Different classes of students cannot mix
  • Students must eat at the same table in the same group during meal times
  • The sport can be played outdoors and indoors with social distancing measures in place

Health cards will not be required for students or staff to attend school at any level.

Mr. Blanquer told Journal du Dimanche that the use of level 2 rules would allow “a return to school as normal as possible, with students in class, while preserving everyone’s health.”

But spokesperson for teachers’ union SNUipp-FSU, Guislaine David, said the rules for September were “unclear and reassuring.”

She told FranceInfo: “We are not in the same situation as at the end of school in July. Since then, the circulation of the Delta variant has increased and the incidence rate in children under 10 years old is significant.

“But now we have less strict health protocols than the ones the schools were using at the end of July. “

More information on the vaccination campaign for pupils

Mr Blanquer also gave more details on a targeted vaccination campaign that will start for students over 12 in middle and high schools.

Currently, 56% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 are vaccinated, according to figures from August 19.

The Minister of Health said: “In all middle and high schools, students and staff will have access to vaccination near or in their establishment.

“Either vaccination teams will come to do vaccinations in schools, or we will organize trips to vaccination centers on a voluntary basis. “

The immunization status of older students will determine whether or not they can study at school in person.

In middle and high schools, students identified as contact cases will be able to continue to physically go to school if they are vaccinated, but will have to study at home for seven days if they are not vaccinated.

Primary schools will use the same rules as in the last school year – if a student is identified as a contact case, their class will be closed for seven days and all students will study remotely.

Mr Blanquer said students would be able to prove their immunization status with a written statement from their parents or guardians.

Health pass to be used for school trips from September 30

From September 30, children over 12 will need to use the health pass to enter many public spaces in France, raising questions about how unvaccinated students will be able to attend school trips to places such as museums without having to pay for a Covid test in advance.

The health minister said that, for now, students would not be required to seek treatment in places where the school had reserved a time slot, meaning that other members of the public would not be present.

From September 30, eligible students will be required to present health cards in all spaces where they are required.

Following the minister’s comments, Union spokesperson Ms David said the main questions remained unanswered.

She said, “When students go out in groups, they use a coach. If several classes use the same trainer, it means that they are not socially distanced. How are we going to manage school trips?

She also shared her concerns for the safety of parents when they bring their children to school – usually a time when large numbers of people congregate outside the school gates.

She asked why stricter protocols were not enforced to prevent students from mixing during meals and breaks in departments where the number of cases was particularly high.

She said: “Is it reasonable then that the virus is circulating at very high levels in some departments? There is no distinction between different departments and different health protocols. ”

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