French parents torn as schools start to reopen after Covid-19 lockdown
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Nursing and primary schools start reopening across France on Tuesday as the government pushes for public life to resume after eight weeks under a coronavirus lockdown, with many parents deeply torn over sending their children back to the classroom.
The French government has started easing some of the closure and home-confinement orders it imposed on March 17 to curb infections, with businesses permitted to reopen and residents cleared to return to workplaces from Monday.
Schools are one of the biggest flash points in the governments reopening plans, with many parents torn over the question of whether to send their children back to the classroom starting on Tuesday.
Only nursery and primary schools are set to start up at first, and classes will be capped at 10 students at preschools and 15 elsewhere. Administrators were told to prioritise instruction for children ages 5, 6 and 10.
Due to the slow startup, as well as ongoing fears about Covid-19 in hard-hit France, school attendance will not be compulsory right away. Parents and guardians may keep children at home and teachers will provide lessons like they have during the nationwide lockdown.
Students with parents who want or need to send them to school are not guaranteed places in the smaller classes and only will be allowed to attend if their school can accommodate them.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer estimated that 80 percent to 85 percent of Frances 50,500 preschools and elementary schools will open this week. Secondary schools in regions with fewer virus cases are expected to reopen on May 18. A target date hasnt been scheduled yet for Frances lycées, or high schools.
Given the ambiguous education guidance and uncertainties over spreading coronavirus, French parents are conflicted as they puzzle over making the most responsible decision.
Cecile Bardin, whose two sons are 6 and 2, said she thinks it is “too soon” to put them back in their nursery and primary schools in Paris.
“I am not reassured at the moment, because it will be very difficult to keep safe distance at school, especially for the little ones, who will want to play together,” Bardin told the Associated Press.
Mathilde Manaud and her partner are raising their 3-year-old and 7-year-old in Le Pre Saint-Gervais, in the French capitals eastern suburbs. They agreed to send the children back to school if there are spaces.
“Truth is, we dont know whether we are right to do so or no, we dont know if its a mistake. We ask ourselves this question every day, and we change our mind every day,” Manaud said. “We are trying to convince ourselves that if they are reopening, they assume they can handle the situation.”
Returning students will find their classrooms running differently. Teachers will wear masks and remind children to social distance from each other and to wash their hands several times a day.
French President Emmanuel Macron sought to reassure parents and teachers while visiting an elementary school in a town west of Paris last week. Macron said schools would reopen gradually because he wants “things done well.”
The school's director, Mathieu Morel, warned the president thaRead More – Source