A group of schoolgirls decided to show their own support for International Women's Day by showing up to lessons wearing skirts, flouting the school's rules.

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Schoolgirls launch skirt-wearing campaign

A group of schoolgirls decided to show their own support for International Women's Day by showing up to lessons wearing skirts, flouting the school's rules.

Schoolgirls launch skirt-wearing campaign

Around thirty pupils aged between 13 and 15 at the Roger-Vailland school in Poncin, close to Lyon, decided to stage the protest.

The school’s principal was not happy with their choice of outfit and asked them to take their skirts off.

“As a result of verbal assaults, of which some of these girls have been victims, they have been asked to change,” said Sylvain Weisse, reported Le Figaro newspaper.

Girls who refused to get changed were sent home for the day.

“I was wearing a flowery skirt that stopped just above the knee,” said one girl on radio station RTL.

“It wasn’t provocative. It seems a bit absurd to tell us to take off our skirts because we can’t work while wearing them.”

“It’s boys, men and the rest of society that need educating,” said a mother of another girl.

Women’s rights group Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whore nor Submissive) said they were unhappy with the school’s decision.

“It’s degrading,” said the group’s president, Asthma Guenifi. “This type of attitude encourages the view that provocation can come from a girl wearing a skirt.”

The group organises a “Day of the Skirt” every year on November 25th to encourage women to show their femininity without fear or prejudice.

Last week, as reported in The Local, a parliamentary report said schoolgirls as young as eight were already wearing padded bras, high heels and taking make-up bags to school. Read more about the story here.

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School closures rise in France as government relaxes rules for parents

The number of school and class closures in France has increased, the education minister reported on Wednesday, but the government has relaxed the rules for parents sending children back to class.

School closures rise in France as government relaxes rules for parents
Children over 11 in France have to wear masks during the school day. Photo: AFP

A total of 81 establishments and 2,100 individual classes have closed after discovering Covid-19 cases on their premises.

The number was a rise on the figures last week when 28 schools and 524 individual classes were closed.

“We have around 1,200 new Covid cases among pupils compared with last week,” Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told the LCI channel on Wednesday.

“We shut down a class as soon as there are three cases,” he said.

Blanquer noted that the closures represent just a small fraction of the 60,000 schools across France, calling the beginning of the new school year “the best possible given the health crisis.”


French officials have warned nonetheless that new restrictions might be required to stem a worrying increase in coronavirus cases since August.

IN NUMBERS: How fast are France's Covid-19 rates increasing?

No more official sick notes

Despite the surge in cases registered in schools, children with Covid-19 symptoms will no longer need to provide a doctor's sick note (une attestation) to return to class, Blanquer told BFMTV on Tuesday evening.

Instead, parents will need to fill in what in French is called an attestation sur l'honneur, a written document signed by the parent, stating either that the child tested negative for the virus, or a doctor has ruled out that the child has Covid-19.

READ ALSO: The vocabulary you need to fill in French forms (including the coronavirus 'attestation')

This followed a series of complaints from medical establishments across the country that they were overwhelmed with demands for sick notes and that parents were sending children with very light symptoms such as runny noses to get checked up.

According to the new rules, children who are identified as contact cases must get tested for the virus seven days after their last contact with the confirmed case. If the result comes back negative, the child can go back to class provided that a parent has provided a signed written attestation saying that the test came back negative. No proof for the test result will be required. 

A child with Covid-19 symptoms can also return to class if this attestation indicates that a doctor has ruled out the virus as cause for the symptoms, without providing any proof for the medical appointment.

The new health protocol will be updated and published on the education ministry's website shortly.

READ ALSO: The French school vocab parents need

'Chomage partiel'

Parents affected by the school closures can access to the partial unemployment scheme bolstered by the government at the beginning of the lockdown in March to help businesses foot their employees' salaries to prevent mass layoffs.

Those concerned will “benefit from income reimbursement from the first day of their stoppage of work, and at the latest until the end of the period of isolation,” the health ministry said in a statement.

Only one parent per household will be eligible for the help scheme, and only if they can document that their child's school or nursery closed down due to Covid-19, or that their child has been identified as a contact-case.

Higher education 

Late Tuesday, the University of Montpellier in southern France said it had suspended classes at its medical school after some 60 students tested positive after a party.

The University of Rennes in western France also suspended classes for second- and third-year medical students this week after 83 tested positive.

The government has placed 82 of the country's 101 departments on red alert, and officials in Bordeaux and Marseille this week tightened restrictions on public gatherings and retirement home visits after seeing a surge in new Covid-19 cases. 

READ ALSO: Why are Bordeaux and Marseille facing tougher Covid-19 restrictions but not Paris