Classes to close if one pupil has Covid in worst-hit areas of France
Some 21,000 children were off school having contracted the virus on Friday and cases are rising
Classes will close for a week if one pupil tests positive for Covid 19 at schools in the 19 departments under reinforced health measures, the government has announced.
The number of pupils infected with Sars-CoV-2 is rising. There were 21,000 cases among school-age children on Friday, March 26, compared to 15,000 a week previously.
The number of closed classes is also on the rise, with 3,256 shut out of a total of 528,400 across the country, compared to 2,018 seven days earlier.
In those 19 departments where health measures are more strict, classes will close for seven days upon discovery of a positive case, and all pupils in that class will be considered a contact case. That means they will have to self-isolate and return a negative Covid test at the end of their confinement period.
Parents will be asked to confirm a negative test before their child can return. Without this children will remain excluded from school for 14 days.
Children and adults who test positive for Covid-19 now have to self-isolate for 10 days. Adults who cannot work from home while caring for their children will be able to apply for an arrêt de travail, the ministry's website said.
Previously, pupils were sent home when three cases of Covid-19 contamination were confirmed.
"This will necessarily mean more class closures in the coming days," Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said at a press conference.
School canteens, which have been blamed by some for accelerating the spread of the virus in schools, may also close on a case-by-case basis, he said.
All pupils over the age of six must wear masks in schools in France apart from in the canteen and when playing outside.
Daily newspaper Le Parisien warned on Friday that President Macron may announce the closure of all schools as early as Wednesday, March 31.