France closes 22 schools due to coronavirus cases

France closed 22 of its 62,000 schools since the beginning of face-to-face classes this week due to coronavirus cases.

Of the affected centers, 10 were on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, where access to health care is more precarious than on the French mainland and the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals has skyrocketed in the last weeks.

In total, French schools have reported around 250 suspected coronavirus cases a day since classes resumed on Tuesday, Education Minister Jean Blanquer told radio station Europe-1.

Protocol

Not all of these cases were positive, but once a suspicion is reported, schools must follow a broad government protocol that can include everything from sending an entire classroom home to continuing classes online, at the close of school.

The number of outages remains relatively low relative to the number of schools in the country, Blanquer added.

The French government, like many others in Europe, ordered the return to face-to-face classes in all its schools this week to tackle inequalities aggravated by quarantines, and for parents to return to work and reactivate the economy.

France recorded more than 7,000 new infections on Thursday, the worst daily figure on the continent and a notable increase from the few hundred it reported in May and June, thanks in part to increased screening tests. More than 30,700 people died from the virus in the country.

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