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Covid-19 classroom closures falling across France

The Local France
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Covid-19 classroom closures falling across France
A teacher escorts students to their classroom on the first day of classes for the new academic year amid the coronavirus pandemic in Barcelona on September 14, 2020. - The first EU nation to surpass half a million coronavirus infections, Spain's decision to pass management of the pandemic to its regions has politicised public health and hobbled its fight against Covid-19, experts say. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

Nearly a month into France's new school year and the number of classes closed due to Covid-19 cases is falling rapidly.

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Fewer than 2,400 classes are currently closed in France due to Covid safety measures, down from nearly 3,300 last week as cases of the deadly virus fall across the country, the Education Ministry has announced.

The latest figure for classroom closures because of Covid cases, 2,366 classes across the country, represents just 0.45 percent of the total number of classes in France.

Classes in primary schools are closed if a single pupil or teacher tests positive, but in collège or lycée only unvaccinated students need to self-isolate while others can continue to come to class provided they test negative for the virus.

All French schools returned to full in-person teaching in September, with pupils and teachers wearing masks and strict rules on hygiene and ventilation in the classroom.

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Nearly a month into the 2021/22 school year, 18 primary schools and one collège (secondary school) are shut for health reasons, or 0.032 percent of schools.

Meanwhile, a total 4,154 of the 10,700 collèges and lycées in France have provided pop-up vaccination centres for students.

At the start of the school year, the Education Ministry set its health protocol standards at level two of four, or ‘yellow’. That allowed all children to attend in-person classes as long as they wore a mask indoors - with the exception of the youngest maternelle pupils.

Current plans allow for mask mandates to be dropped in primary schools in départements where the incidence rate of Covid-19 is stable and below 50 cases per 100,000 from October 4th.

ALSO READ How schools in France operate under four-tier Covid protocol

There is the possibility for local changes, so that areas with higher case numbers can impose tighter rules.

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