end of class closures and screening

8,890 classes are currently closed in France. From Monday, November 29, primary classes will no longer close from the first case of Covid-19. “There will no longer be systematic class closings from the first case of Covid-19, but systematic screening of the whole class” announced Jean-Michel Blanquer.

“There will no longer be systematic class closures from the first case of Covid”

[Mise à jour du 26 novembre 2021 à 10h19]. According to the Ministry of National Education, 74 school structures and 8,890 classes are closed in France as of November 25. A figure that has multiplied by 2.5 in one week! However, the number of closed classes should mathematically drop from Monday, November 29. Indeed, during a press conference this Thursday, November 25, Jean-Michel Blanquer announced to new measures at school. There will no longer be systematic class closings from the first case of Covid-19, but systematic screening of the whole class. In other words, only students who test negative will be able to return to class. These tests could be carried out by the legal representatives “ explained the Minister of National Education. Furthermore, the level 2 protocol remains in place in schools, except in Guyana where the sanitary protocol remains at level 4. “The Test, Alert, Protect strategy is what kept the school open” also recalled the Minister of Education who specifies that the test remains free for all minors.

Will the classes continue to close? If several cases are detected in the same class, the Regional Health Agency may then decide to close the class, or even the school if the cases are too numerous.

Reactive screening: what is it?

In notice of November 20, the Scientific Council recommends the “reinforcement of reactive screening at school”. Concretely, when a positive case for Covid-19 is detected: it is necessary to proceed to a screening immediate of all the students in the class for whom the parents have given their consent; isolate lpositive cases for 10 days; consider an rback to class of the students who participated in the screening and isolate thes positive cases and students who did not participate in screening (virological status “undetermined“). Also, the restablishment of the systematic wearing of the mask indoors and outdoors for pupils over 6 years old in the class and recommendation in the other classes of the school. Additional measures aimed at limiting the mixing of classes and pupils could be taken.

Should children be vaccinated at school?

This November 25, The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has announced that it has approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s messenger RNA vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years. At the end of May, she had already given the green light for administration to adolescents over 12 years old. The same day, Olivier Véran confirmed on the set of TF1’s 20H newscast that the government was studying the issue of vaccination of children.If we started a vaccination campaign open to children aged 5 to 11, it would be beginning of year 2022, specified the Minister of Health.

On November 17, an opinion from the Academy of Medicine was published concerning the vaccination of children against Covid-19. National Academy of Medicine recommends expanding immunization against Covid-19 with vaccine (from Pfizer-BioNTech) children at risk of severe forms due to comorbidities, regardless of their age, as well as other children living in their family and school environment“, explains the scientific body. She also advises to vaccinate “children living in the entourage of vulnerable adults, in particular the immunocompromised and people with chronic diseases “. However, the issue of vaccination of children is not yet on the agenda in our country. This November 17, Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the scientific council, explained on France Inter that if a decision has to be taken in this direction, it will not be before “the beginning of the year 2022”.

The latest news on Covid at school

  • The students of CP and CE1 made up for the delay due to confinement. The Ministry of National Education unveiled on November 15 the results of national assessments carried out in September, which focused in CP and CE1 on skills in French and mathematics, and in sixth on all skills acquired in primary. They reveal that the delays observed in French and in mathematics after the first confinement in 2020 have been made up, but that the progress made by the students of the most disadvantaged schools was less important in French. Thus, the black point remains the mastery of oral reading in 6th called the fluency test: a third of students entering 6th have only CE2 level.
  • Mask at school. Wearing a mask became compulsory again in all elementary schools in mainland France and overseas on November 15. “In this context of epidemic resumption, we need to be extra vigilant. All the relaxation envisaged for a moment will therefore be postponed to keep the rules currently in force”, had indicated the head of state. It is therefore the level 2 of the health protocol which has been applied in all French schools since November 15. Since November 8, primary school students from 39 metropolitan departments had already put the mask back on at school, as well as in Réunion due to the deterioration of the health situation.
  • Access to the vaccination status of students retested. On November 9, members of the Constitutional Council censored highly criticized access by school directors to the vaccination status of pupils of the “health vigilance” bill passed by the deputies on November 5. The National Assembly had however accepted that school principals and heads of secondary schools could have access to it, until the end of the 2022 school year against the advice of senators. But the wise considered that the school component of the bill “health vigilance” carried a “disproportionate infringement of the right to respect for private life“. However, they validated the extension of the health pass until the end of July 2022.
  • No health pass at school. The minister also reaffirmed that there would be no health pass within schools.. “We cannot exclude a pupil” which would not be vaccinated, but the objective is to keep the classes open in the second degree. Unvaccinated students should take distance education when a positive case is detected in a classroom. “This measure has undoubtedly made it possible to have many children vaccinated between 12 and 17 years old,” he said on October 25 on Europe 1. “It is also thanks to this that since the beginning of September, very few classes have been closed in middle school and high school “.
  • Harmonization of compensation rules for parents. In the event of a class closure, and if the child is positive for Covid, one of the parents who cannot telework will be able to benefit from the derogatory daily allowances, without waiting period, with an employer supplement, and whether he is vaccinated or no.
  • Air purifiers and CO2 detectors: better to open the windows. “Neither CO2 detectors nor air purifiers are the alpha and omega in the fight against Covid,” Jean-Michel Blanquer said on France Inter on September 1. The Minister also specifies that communities needing financial assistance to acquire these devices could be helped by the government.

Children’s mental health weakened by the crisis

The results of the Defender of Rights’ annual report, published on November 17, are worrying about the children’s mental health. According to Claire Hédon, “it has been shown that the first confinement led to a general increase in depressive syndromes and even to a doubling among 15-24 year olds (10% of them presented with a depressive syndrome in 2019, compared to more than 20% in 2020)“. The closure of schools, colleges and high schools and distance education have also increased the risk of screen addiction. “(Professionals) challenged us on the difficulties of circadian rhythms, eating disorders, sleep in children, who were exhausted in schools, who suffer from attention problems. Teachers find it difficult to mobilize them on projects“, thus explained the Defender of the children Eric Delemar, during a press conference organized on November 16. Faced with this observation, Claire Hédon proposes 29 recommendations such as allowing each child to access childcare facilities. child, develop “parenting support” and open “adolescent centers” in each department. of problem. “A child who is not doing well will become an adult who is doing badly (and who will live in) a bad society. “, she insists.

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