First modification: 09/02/2021 – 20:12
While French President Emmanuel Macron considers that the return is part of learning to live with the virus; Health experts point out that it may be a hasty measure since the Delta variant could be related to an increase in hospitalization of children and adolescents.
More than 12 million students and 866,000 teachers returned to classrooms in France this Thursday, September 2. And to mark the beginning of the face-to-face classes, President Emmanuel Macron visited a school in Marseille. This as part of a three-day visit to the southern city to address security, education and housing issues.
From there, the French president classified the opening of the schools as “a victory”. “We must continue to live, educate and learn with the virus,” said Macron.
In turn, he called on adolescents to get vaccinated. “They need to keep getting vaccinated and they need, even if I know it’s a bit unpleasant, to keep wearing a mask in the classroom, wash their hands and keep their distance,” Macron told the French children, as evidenced in a video posted on the networks social.
But vaccination has been precisely one of the biggest criticisms of those who consider that the return to presence for primary and secondary students was rushed because not all have the complete scheme.
About 47% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 have both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and 63% have received at least one of the inoculations. This worries a section of the population about the possibility that the virus will spread faster, especially now that they will return to school after the summer holidays.
Experts point to risk of reopening French schools amid Delta variant
Many fear that progress that has been slowly made will be reversed. And it is that France went from more than 23,000 daily infections in mid-August to 17,000 today.
The concern increases when the Delta variant is taken into account, which, in France, is the predominant one with a 98% incidence according to a group of health specialists who, two weeks ago, wrote an article in ‘Le Monde’ to warn the risk of face-to-face classes.
Experts point out that “the rate of hospitalization between 0 and 19 years of age increases in countries where the Delta variant is dominant”, such as in France. They also maintain that the number of hospitalizations among children from 0 to 9 years is “double what it was last year” on the same date, and “four times” among those from 10 to 19 years.
As for teachers, about 78% have the complete vaccination scheme. They argue that vaccination is not mandatory for either students or teachers. “It’s your choice,” said Julie Bouvry, the director of Rodin’s school, located in central Paris. Bouvry clarified that if a student is not vaccinated and is in contact with someone who contracted Covid-19, they will have to stay home.
Another obligation that students must meet is that all those over 6 years old must wear a mask when attending school.
With Reuters and AP