France’s 12.4 million primary and secondary school students, and nearly 870,000 teachers return to classrooms today Thursday, 2 September.
This new school year witnesses many of the same Covid protocols as the previous year, with some changes.
Speaking at his yearly back-to-school press conference, Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer declared new plans for the 2021-2022 school year.
He pointed out that the new plans took into account the country’s fourth wave of Covid infections due to the more infectious Delta variant.
“We can stay calm for the start of this school year,” he said. Even though “of course there will be problems and adaptation, depending on the evolution of the health situation.”
When schools let out in France in early July, few teachers had vaccinated against Covid-19.
However, some 78 percent of them have been fully vaccinated today. An additional 11 percent soon will be, according to education ministry figures.
Outlining the official Covid-19 protocol for the new school year last week, Blanquer nevertheless promised a rentrée scolaire that would be “as normal as possible.”
He further assured that one could be “completely serene” about kids returning to class.
The ministry released a new four-category Covid-19 protocol in July outlining the levels (green, yellow, orange, red) of Covid-19 precautions.
Blanquer confirmed last week that the school year will begin at Level 2 (yellow).
But observers were left puzzled as no guidance was provided on the criteria used to prescribe a level or to progress from one to the next.