Coronavirus: Turn of the Screw in the Canteen, No More Indoor Sport… What is Changing in Schools

General News
New measures announced for schools to try and contain coronavirus

PANDEMIC: The government presented new measures for schools and sport this Thursday evening to stem the coronavirus epidemic in France

It was one of the striking effects of the first confinement: the closure of schools. The government does not want to come to this again, as it indicated on Thursday when presenting new measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic.

“We are convinced that schools must be kept open. This is essential when we measure the advantages and disadvantages ”, declared the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer. But if “the circulation of the virus remains relatively controlled”, new restrictions will come into force, in particular, to stem the arrival of the British variant, which could affect the youngest children more.

Restrictions in the canteen

First of all, the hybrid formula, which allows an alternation between face-to-face and distance learning for lessons, is maintained in high schools beyond January 20, said the minister. By adding that “vigilance” will be brought to final year students, who must be given priority to go to classes. For the college, the hybrid mode will be possible on a “case by case” basis, for 4th and 3rd-year students.

Considered by the authorities as to the “weak link” in the organization of the student day, school canteens will see their rules reinforced. In primary school, in particular, it is necessary to avoid “any mixing between pupils of different classes”, wishes the government. Consequence: the children of the same class will have to have lunch every day of the week together, at the same table. Meal service hours will be extended, also indicated Jean-Michel Blanquer. And as a “last resort”, the take-out meal solution may be considered. We must act “on a case-by-case basis”, insisted the tenant of the rue de Grenelle. In colleges, if the pressure is too strong, the service time may be lengthened or take-out meals offered.

No more indoor sports activity

In addition, indoor sports activities, school and extracurricular, can no longer take place. They are suspended “for a few weeks probably”, according to Jean-Michel Blanquer. The minors had resumed sport outside at the end of November and indoors on December 15, while respecting the curfew set at 8 p.m. and with the exception of contact practices. The PE and extracurricular classes had not been stopped.

Finally, on the issue of screening, the government wants to speed up. It targets 300,000 tests per week for students and staff, to reach one million at the end of January. And “each time there will be three cases [in an establishment], a screening team can come on-site” and “all staff, college and high school students will be offered a test within 48 hours.”

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