Back to school and coronavirus: France is not ready according to several doctors

For several doctors from different departments, the measures taken to ensure the start of the school year during this pandemic period are insufficient. They published a column in the newspaper Le Parisien to voice their dismay and their demands.

Barrier measures are essential to reduce the circulation of the virus.  © lukpedclub, Adobe Stock

A recent column published in Le Parisien announces the color : ” A few days before the start of the school year, the school is not ready: wearing a mask, ventilating spaces, distance education, reducing class sizes, none of that. will be implemented in all schools

In recent weeks, the Covid-19 has regained ground . Part of the observed increase is of course the number of more frequent tests, but not only . Indeed, the circulation of the virus is indeed more active because the increase in the number of positive patients is much greater than the increase in the number of tests performed. This can be explained, a priori , by the resumption of “normal life” and the more or less rigorous respect of barrier measures by individuals.

The proposed measures

The measures proposed by this group of doctors are more restrictive, here they are: 

  • the wearing of a mask in an enclosed space for all pupils over six years old. In fact, we know that closed places are conducive to the formation of infectious aerosols  and that children have a variable viral load but it is present when they are infected . Yet the French Society of Pediatrics says there is a consensus that children under 10 are hardly contributing to the epidemic ;
  • the ventilation measures already promoted with the help of devices measuring the quality of the air ;
  • apply more drastic measures now (reducing the number of pupils, distance schooling, etc.) in regions where the virus is already circulating strongly;
  • educate on what to do if a case is positive for exemplary responsiveness and set up an efficient and transparent system so that the data is accessible as quickly as possible. 

These four flagship measures are consistent from a health point of view apart from the first, which is different from the opinion of the French Pediatric Society.

The collective of signatory doctors cites a good number of countries that have adopted such strategies, and sometimes even more drastic measures. For the health of the population, the country’s economy and the education of children, the right balance of benefits and risks still remains to be determined by the government, as the scientific data evolve.

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