"It's inevitable this sort of thing will happen," said the education ministry.
A week after the Education Ministry of France ordered the reopening of schools in Paris, 70 individuals have reportedly contracted the novel coronavirus. According to the ministry, all those new cases are being linked to schools.
In a recent radio announcement, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said in an “alarmed tone” that relaxing the lockdown measures and the decision to resume school classes has put the children “in new danger of contamination”. Due to the 70 new cases of COVID-19, the affected institutions have already complied for an immediate shutdown.
“It’s inevitable this sort of thing will happen. In almost all cases, this (transmission) has happened outside of the school,” Blanquer said in a Business Insider report.
However, the official did not specify about how many students, teachers, or school staff members were infected of the virus. The Education minister also stressed that the 70 cases were a “small” proportion of the 1.4 million enrolled students who recently returned to school as soon as restrictions were lifted.
A media source reported that seven schools immediately closed their institution doors, following the incident.
Citing the 14 days incubation period of coronavirus, Blanquer said that people have “likely” contracted the virus before 40,000 preschools and primary schools officially reopened their classrooms to schoolchildren.
France is one of the many European countries, including Germany, Norway, the Czech Republic, Norway, and Poland, that have relaxed its lockdown policies.
Among these countries, Denmark was the first to resume schools last month, which resulted to parents’ increasing concerns. Parents expressed their worries, saying they felt that their children were being used as human “guinea pigs” to examine how effective government policies are.
European officials remained firm on their decision explaining that not sending children to school is more harmful to them in the long run.
“There will be terrible damage if we lose a generation of children who have been stopped from going to school for several months,” Blanquered defended.
Since the coronavirus broke out, France decided to close all its schools and higher-education institutions on March 17. After two months, France have decided to partially lift restrictions, which included the reopening of some shops and schools.
As of posting, France has recorded more than 180,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 28,000 deaths.
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