In Europe, the reopening of schools in scattered rows

Students at Joseph-König School prepare for their final exams in Haltern am See, Germany, on April 23.
Students at Joseph-König School prepare for their final exams in Haltern am See, Germany, on April 23. DPA / PHOTONONSTOP

Not all, and not at the same time. After several weeks of confinement in Europe, students will find their way back to school in several countries, including France. In small groups, according to a different calendar, with the wearing of a mask, without a canteen for the most part, and according to rules of distancing which are difficult to implement, young Europeans are preparing to make a comeback like no other.

Faced with parental anguish, and criticism from teachers' unions, governments say they are quick to shut down schools if the contagion of Covid-19 rebounds. All promise the organization of safety rules which, in reality, turn quickly into a headache. The reopening of schools is nonetheless the first real test of deconfinement.

Read also In Europe and in the world, deconfinement is being prepared, country by country

The little Danes played the role of pioneers. In the Scandinavian kingdom, where all schools closed on March 13, phase 1 of the deconfinement began with the reopening of nurseries and primary schools on April 15. But due to the lack of space in the classrooms, to split the groups and ensure a regulatory distance of two meters between the offices, the operation was not a complete success. In Copenhagen, only half of the pupils were able to resume lessons in mid-April.

And the situation is likely to get even more complicated with the start of the school year high school students scheduled for May 10. We must also take into account the reluctance of worried parents who prefer not to send their children back to school before the start of the school year in September. On Facebook, the group “My child will not be a laboratory rat for the Covid-19” has 40,000 members.

Calendar focused on May

With the Norwegian neighbor, the deconfinement also started early with the reopening of the nurseries, on April 20, a week before the schoolchildren. But here too, the difficulties arose. In Oslo, 62% of children attended the first week, with large disparities. In the most disadvantaged neighborhoods, with a large immigrant population, only one in three or four children came.

By "Small groups", since Monday, the Czech Republic has authorized universities to resume courses. The other levels should follow during May, at a rate of fifteen students per class maximum. Here too, according to polls, the Czechs are deeply divided on the need to reopen schools.

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