Keeping schools open in the midst of a pandemic, the French exception

CIt is one of the European countries with the fewest weeks of school closures, according to the latest data from March 2 compiled by UNESCO. France has closed its classes completely or temporarily for ten weeks since March 2020The period corresponding to the first booking, which included two weeks of school leave. Much lower than its neighbors: Italy, early affected by the pandemic, has shut down 30 weeks, in whole or in part. Spain has a total of 15 weeks of lockdown, as is Belgium and Germany 24 weeks and the UK 26 weeks. Only a few countries have fewer closing days than France
6 weeks in Switzerland and Iceland.

“This crisis could be an educational disaster, I try to avoid it in France”

The government’s rhetoric has not changed: schools should only be closed ” the final destination “. This is despite the warnings of many scientists about the dangers of pollution in schools.

“Not a modification variable”

The school is not like that “Not a modification variable”The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blunker, insists on making himself a harbinger of this common will at the helm of the country. It is true that it has become a French exception, but there are every reason to be proud of it., He congratulated himself.“This crisis could be an educational disaster, and I’m trying to avoid it in France.”

The awareness that the Covid-19 pandemic could wreak havoc outside the health plan is pushing France to stand up “For as long as possible on this ridge line, which consists in preserving learning in school, while ensuring the health protection of all.”We trust the minister’s entourage.

The emerging consensus is that Schools do not appear to amplify transmission (of the virus),
And that the cases in the schools simply reflect the prevalence within the community. “Several recent epidemiologists estimate the British Medical Journal BMJ, Including the Frenchman Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the Scientific Council that directs the government.

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France has closed its classes completely or temporarily for ten weeks since March 2020

In addition to the decision to leave schools open “It goes beyond just controlling the epidemic.”Note, these scholars note, noting the educational and social harm that lockdowns can cause to children. However, it must accompany the opening of schools ‘Effective measures to reduce risks’, They warn.

Since September, France has managed to keep its institutions open, by mandating the wearing of a mask from elementary school or “crossbreeding” in high school (a combination of face-to-face and distance education). “We are able to decide on targeted closings.” When several cases are revealed, Jean-Michel Blancer is also remembered.

If the unions denounce the insufficiency of the health protocol, Nobody wants to relive the “Distance School” episode this past spring.

Inequality is increasing

Children have lost an average of 74 days of education worldwide, or nearly a third of the school year, due to the coronavirus epidemic, as inequality widens, says the non-governmental organization Save the Children. At the height of the epidemic, 91% of students worldwide were out of school. School closures have widened the gaps between rich and poor countries, as well as within countries, between rich and unstable families, urban and rural, refugee children or not, disabled or non-handicapped, the NGO asserts.

In the United States, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 15 million students from kindergarten to high school did not have enough internet connection to pursue distance education. Children in Latin America, the Caribbean and South Asia have missed nearly three times as many school days as children in Western Europe. In addition to lost learning days, out-of-school minors are at greater risk of child labor, child marriage and other forms of abuse, Save the Children notes.

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Malaz School

France “She stands out for her desire to keep her schools open as much as possible.”Alain Bouvier, former editor-in-chief of the Sevres International Journal of Education, which compares educational policies around the world, notes. “At the other end of the spectrum, we have New Zealand which, to completely wipe out Covid, does not hesitate to make drastic and immediate decisions to shut it down. And in the middle, there are many case numbers, with countries that can decide to lock down only certain levels or only certain regions.”, Continue. How do we explain this ” Exception “ French? Through the school’s role in the country’s history., Confirms educational historian Claude Lillivre. “Since the French Revolution, the entire enterprise has been over-invested, and has been given an almost dispossessed role. Whenever an important problem arises, it feels like it is up to it to solve it.”

Since the French Revolution, the Foundation has been completely over-invested and has been granted an almost impeccable role.

According to the historian, the school became in France A haven to protect. And therefore, “The risk of leaving institutions open does not offend our collective mind.”. “This desire to leave schools open at all costs is completely unique in Europe even if there is a conflict in all countries between health goals and educational issues.”He is also Judge Eric Charbonnier, Education Analyst at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

I must say that France is one of the countries with the highest rates of inequality in education. “All studies show that it got worse during the first reservation.”Remember. So the country faces a major challenge: not to continue digging.

Elsewhere in the world

Germany Classes are halted and schools and high schools closed in mid-December to allow for the celebration of family holidays and to avoid the crowding of hospitals on Christmas. Institutions are gradually reopening since February 22, starting with small elementary classes, in mid-groups every day. For middle and high school, face-to-face classes must be resumed from next week.

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United kingdom The prime minister announced a national lockdown that would take effect on January 5. It will be gradually lifted, and the first step is to reopen schools, which is a priority. During the lockdown, children considered “at risk” and those primary school personnel were taken care of while others received education remotely from home. In England, all students will be able to return to school on March 8th.

Spain Since the start of the school year in September, the country has not closed its schools, especially due to the long absence of students during the first wave, in the spring. And the state imposed the wearing of masks from the age of 6 years even on the playground or during sports and insists in particular on ventilation of the seasons. As for teens, they alternate between live and online lessons, depending on the decisions of the regional authorities.

Scandinavian countries Denmark closed its schools at the end of December (except for kindergartens). After a sharp drop in cases, it reopened on February 8th. Since March 1, some colleges and high schools have reopened, but most high schools remain on the sidelines. In Norway, schools that closed last March are open. Sweden has always kept its primary schools open. The high schools, which closed last March, reopened in June before returning to distance education in December. This should mainly continue until the beginning of April.

Italy The 20 Italian regions are divided into yellow (medium risk), orange (medium risk) and red (high risk) regions. In the red areas, all schools are automatically closed. In other regions, schools may close if more than 250 out of 100,000 people become infected within a week.

United State The situation is different for schools in different states and even counties. But millions of children have not been in school since mid-March 2020. The Biden administration hopes to create conditions for the rapid reopening of school doors thanks to advances in immunization.

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