SCHOOL AND COVID. In mid-April, the Ministry of Education presented a new report on the number of classes closed at school in France due to Covid. Browse this article to discover in detail the numbers of closed school structures as well as those of contamination cases.
[Mis à jour le 15 avril 2022 à 15h50] How many classes are closed in France due to Covid? On April 15, 2022, the Department of Education delivered its latest full weekly situation update on Covid-19 in schools. According to this update and its data, as of Thursday April 14 at 1 p.m. 728 classes closed this week of 284,226 or 0.26% of them *.
Regarding school structures (public and private under contract), the Ministry lists 4 that have been closed out of 31 506. In detail, all closed structures are schools. No college or high school is affected. What about confirmed Covid cases?
- students : 39,357 confirmed Covid cases (cumulated over the last seven days; + 4,411 in 24 hours)
- personally : 5,802 Covid cases (cumulative over the last seven days; + 758 in 24 hours)
These numbers are based “on the voluntary declaration of those affected to medical confidentiality,” specifies the Ministry of Education.
* As of January 2022, class closures due to the emergence of confirmed cases among students, as well as those due to faculty/staff absences, will be counted.
Why are some courses still closing?
The government changed the rules regarding business closures in early January. Previously, a class was closed as soon as three Covid cases were identified; With the start of the school year in January, a general policy was introduced that classes would not be closed and that children would be tested as soon as a Covid case was detected in the class. But it is clear that the classes are closing… The closings are actually “depending on the situation”. “If, for example, there is a very large number of cases,” specified the departments of the ministry.
Spread of Covid in schools, government strategy… Answers
How is the spread of the Covid at school in France? Will the government keep the same strategy? What form has health protocol taken in schools, colleges, high schools? Linternaute.com summarizes the useful answers on this dedicated page.
At the end of the massive teachers’ strike of January 13 in the National Education system (38.5% of the strikers according to the ministry; 75% according to the first basic union), the Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, made new announcements on the fight against Covid in schools. Recruitment of replacement and reinforcement staff, FFP2 masks, mid-CP assessments… Here is the summary of the main new formalized measures:
- Additional settings : More than 8,000 reinforcements in the national education system have been announced “for the next few days and weeks” to deal with the health crisis, Jean-Michel Blanquer recalled on January 14. They must initially officiate until the end of the school year. In the first course, 3,300 additional contract teachers would be requested by the end of the school year, he announced. In the first course, the additional lists (those who passed the teacher competition without being hired) in the amount of “several hundred people” are also called. In the secondary sector, it is also planned to hire 1,500 teaching assistants (supervisors) by the end of the year. There are also 1,500 other administrative temps in second-tier constituencies who are tasked with assisting national education inspectors in helping school principals deal with the coronavirus. About 1,500 additional anti-Covid mediators were also mentioned by the Minister of Education invited by franceinfo on January 14th.
- A distribution of FFP2 masks : The measure is “not necessarily desirable” according to the High Council for Public Health, the Minister of Education stressed on franceinfo on January 14, especially because it is more difficult to teach with this type of masks. However, the Minister has pledged to distribute 5 million FFP2 masks, primarily to kindergarten teachers (young students do not wear masks there), AESH (companions of students with disabilities) and teachers with children with disabilities. Teachers must also generally be provided with two surgical masks per day. On January 26, the Minister of Education announced on BFMTV that “90% of the FFP2 masks are on site”, that the others are being sent and that “the surgical masks are also arriving”.
- Moved mid-CP ratings : Mid-year CP ratings should start the week of January 17th. They are finally postponed “to a date to be determined with the unions”.
- The postponement of the Abitur examinations, investigated : The Ministry of Education will examine the possibility of postponing the Abitur specialist teaching exams, which normally take place in March. It is the possibility of postponing it to June, which must be examined in consultation with the “representative associations” and the “Council of University Life”.
What about air purifiers?
Regarding air purifiers, aka CO2 sensors Installing them in the classrooms, the minister referred to a “constitutional rule”, pointing out that the distribution of the masks is made by the state because he is the employer, but that the distribution of the CO2 sensors “is under the competence of the local authorities”. The fund of 20 million euros previously made available by the state “has not yet been fully used”, emphasized Jean-Michel Blanquer. “Our goal is definitely the generalization of sensors, and the state supports the communities in this,” affirmed the education minister.
What is the spread of Covid at school in France? Here are the incidence rates (number of cases per 100,000) measured over the last consecutive week by grade level. The following figures were compiled by Public Health France and taken from the Data.gouv website. While the automatic screening now in place in schools obviously increases the magnitude of the numbers, they still note that the virus is at least as prevalent in schools as it is in the general population:
Following the decrease in hospital admissions related to Covid-19 in France and generally favorable health indicators, the government has decided to relax the school health protocol again from Monday March 14th. More information on this point on our special page “Health protocol in school”:
The school is now at the heart of tackling the health crisis. The government is sticking to a principle from which it does not want to deviate: everything must be done to keep schools open, despite the active spread of the coronavirus epidemic. At a press conference on January 20, Prime Minister Jean Castex reiterated that the “decision not to close schools was the right one”. “I saw the representatives of the national education staff and we made the necessary corrections, but nothing could have been worse than closing schools or even postponing the start of the new school year. [de janvier 2022]. Because the reopening would have been very difficult given the increase in the number of cases,” he added. This strategy is still in place today and is coupled with a gradual relaxation of the restrictive measures included in the health protocol schools.