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French schools to move more lessons online as lockdown continues

France's lycées have been given permission to move up to half of their classes online as the country's lockdown continues.

French schools to move more lessons online as lockdown continues
Photo: AFP

The country's education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer confirmed that the country's lycées, for pupils aged 15 to 18, can begin moving some of their teaching back online.

All teaching in France was done online when schools were closed in the spring, but they have remained open during the country's second lockdown, with health rules in place including compulsory masks.

Because of the disruption to children's education, which fell particularly hard on the most disadvantaged children, the government has been determined to keep schools open if at all possible.

However Blanquer announced a change to this, speaking at a press conference with the Prime Minister on Thursday where it was confirmed that the current lockdown will continue until at least December 1st.

He outlined proposals to allow lycées to move some of their teaching online, but said that pupils must spend at least 50 percent of their time in the classroom.

The exact composition of remote v. face-to-face teaching is up to each individual establishment, but Blanquer added that “100 percent presence is preferred”.

The remote teaching plan was only for students at lycée (high school) –  younger children in collège (secondary school), primary school and maternelle (infants) will continue with in-person classes.

Universities are already operating a mixture of in-person and online classes, with rules restricting lecture halls to 50 percent of their normal capacity.

His announcement follows on from the news that exams will be scrapped for the majority of subjects in the baccalaureate, which students take during their third year at lycée.

For most subjects, grades will be given via assessed coursework, with expanded exams only for pupils' 'speciality' subjects.

Those exams will take place as usual in March, but there will be a second date in June for any pupils who are ill or self-isolating on the March date.

These changes are temporary and only affect the 2020/21 academic year.

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HEALTH

France’s monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

France has detected 277 cases of monkeypox, health authorities said Tuesday, June 21st, including the first case in the country of a woman contracting the virus.

France's monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

The case numbers have risen steeply since the last official figure of 183 cases five days earlier. But there have been no deaths in France attributed to monkeypox.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Until recently, the viral disease had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa but is now present in several continents, particularly Europe.

Among the latest cases recorded in France, “a first female case has been confirmed, the mode of transmission of which is currently being investigated, and all the others are men,” the French national public health agency said in a statement.

So far, the recent outbreak of monkeypox, which is currently affecting some 40 countries, has mainly affected men who have engaged in gay sex.

The World Health Organization is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.

Most of the cases identified in France have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions throughout the country, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d’Azur in the south.

The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighbouring Germany.

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