Covid-19: an ever-expanding infection toll in schools, concerns increase

Published by Cécile D., Alexandre G. · Published on 25 March 2021 at 14h28
The latest data shared by the National Education Ministry on Thursday November 12, 2020 show that the number of children who tested positive for Covid-19 in schools have multiplied by three in barely a week. Santé Publique France data show that 259 clusters are currently investigated in schools and universities, out of 1,280 reported. A high criticality rate in comparison with the other communities, dropping by 24%.

How is the health situation in schools in France? This Thursday March 25, even though the official data have not been made public yet, France Info shared exclusive and worrying news. The broadcaster affirms over 4,000 cases have been reported in pupils and teachers on Monday March 22. According to the broadcaster, it could go up to 15,000 contaminations in schools in one week.

Furthermore, France Info belives data are only a low estimation of the reality since news as for contaminations in children are only issued by families. The Minister of the Education intends to be reassuring and explains these results are cused by an increase in tests.

Lille Academy FSU trade union member Ludivine Debacq does not agree. She tells France Info she saw "entire staff self-isolating: earlier this week, we've been called by a school where 17 collegues were absent - sick or isolating - in 26".

Yet, only 2,018 classes are closed, that is to say 0.4% of classes in France. the government does not plan to change things: schools are to remain open and school holidays will not change.

"Children - most of the time when the contamination chain is analyzed - are not contaminated at school, but at home. They eventually contaminate others at schoolJean-Michel Blanquer told BFMTV this past March 19.

Despite Minister of the National Education's confidence, concerns are here, even in high places of the State. In Libération, a governmental source said "Jean-Michel Blanquer denies what is happening in schools. [...] A message has been sent to be clearer in data and tell about what is really going on in schools instead of trying to pretend otherwise". The source adds it is difficult "to make the French believe people are more contaminated at work and not at all in schools".

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