The executive shifts up a gear in the fight against Covid… As President Macron has addressed this Wednesday March 31 in the evening to speak about the country's health situation, and announce new restrictions. The goal? Curbing the third Coronavirus epidemic wave.
As three leads were considered to halt the new epidemic wave, the head of state and the government has ruled for the closure of schools in the country. Starting Friday April 2, 2021 in the evening, all schools (daycares, schools, junior high schools, and high schools) must close for at least 3 weeks.
"We must be aware of our duty towards our youth. We can be pleased in our country to have opened schools first, and kept them open since September 2020. [...] Our children need to learn, to be together. No once can assess the impacts of a too long closure. Yes, the virus circulates in schools, but not more than elsewhere, and educating our children is not negotiable", Macron explained before announcing the closure of all schools for 3 weeks in France.
"This is why we have to take responsibility. Yes, we must curb the virus. Therefore, daycares, schools, junior high schools, and high schools will close for three weeks. Yes, we must save education and teaching. This is why the school calendar will be reworked to not let our children alone, without education", he added.
Therefore, from April 6 to 9, classes in schools, junior high schools, and high schools will be attended from home, "excluding for health caregivers' children and some others that will be attended, as well as disabled children", the French President went on.
The next two weeks, starting April 12, "France - whatever vacation area - will be placed in Spring break", President Macron went on. Then, "pupils in primary schools and kindergartens will return to school on April 26, and from home for junior high schools and high schools". Last but not least, on May 3, junior high and high schoolers will be able to return to school with fitter gauges.
According to many observers and medical experts, this decision comes too late. They fear measures are not enough to curb the epidemic making many victims in France every day. One question is raised then: will lockdown and the closure of schools and non-necessary places be extended and for several weeks past May 2?
President Macron intended to reassure his fellow citizens: "I don't think there will be another lockdown by the end of the school year. [...] It is crucial for classes to physically resume for nursery schools and primary schools on Paril 26, and then junior high schools, and high schools the week after. I did not determine the reopening of nursery schools and schools, and then junior high schools and high schools accoridng to health indicators. Why? Because these three weeks of home schooling are already a major effort", the French President said to a class of junior high schoolers with whom he spoke via the "Ma classe à la maison" platform developed by CNED.
Following his virtual address, Emmanuel Macron detailed the soon reopening of schools. He told Le Parisien that "school is a place where the virus spreads, but not a place where the virus spreads more. But, it is a place where the future of our country is at stake. I do not think we have the right to sacrifice the future of our country to the current situation". He claims he is leading several battles: "health is our primary goal, I also made of education a priority".
Macron also promises the "brevet" will not be cancelled in 2021.
Faced with denigrators, the Head of State says he advocates for his decision no matter what. He is pleased he did not close schools or instate lockdown earlier as France's European neighbors did. President Macron does not want to instate a too hard lockdown or too strict measures for several months in a row. "I want to reason the other way around: I would rather say we have saved the life of the country thanks to proportionate measures", he insists.
Although the French President promises a softer summer with the reopening of stores and many places of leisure, he admis "the virus is the time master", and the situation can change within a few months.