Covid-19: why school is not a source of contamination

Xavier Martinage

Published on 03/31/2021 at 12:19 p.m.

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Schools in the center of all eyes in France while the epidemic situation is deteriorating in the country. According to BFMTV, Emmanuel Macron could also announce their closure this Wednesday, March 31 in the evening in view of the circulation of the virus. A proposal that does not at all please the FCPE for example, which the national administrator judged on March 31 on BFMTV that “parents and children are cracking” and that everyone is “at the end of the line”. Until then, the government had closed the door to this possibility, hardening the protocol and closing a class as soon as a case was declared.

However, according to the VIGIL study relayed by France Inter, the school would not be a place conducive to contamination. Conducted by pediatricians, this study has been carried out since last June, and on three occasions indicates our colleagues, namely when the variants were not yet known, when they appeared and finally when they became “dominant” . And their observation is clear: in 70 to 80% of cases, it is “the family which was the site of the contamination”. “If we distinguish the contaminator, it is more often the adults than the children”, underlines the pediatrician and infectious disease specialist Robert Cohen. His opponents will say that the incidence rate has yet sharply increased in recent weeks (+ 31%), but for the doctor, this increase is due to a higher number of tests in children. “The rate of positive has hardly changed. It is less than 3 or 4%”, he adds.

>> To read also – Travel, schools… what can you do in the event of re-containment in your region?

Instead, close middle and high schools

An opinion shared by the French Pediatric Society (SFP), adds France Inter, who believes that if “the circulation of the virus is increasing in the general population, the increase observed in children is only a reflection and not the cause”. According to the SFP, contaminations within schools represented only a “tiny minority of contaminations” and therefore, closing schools would not be really useful and would cause other problems such as “intra-family violence” or the rise in “mental distress” in children.

To cope with this increase in cases, the French Pediatric Society is more advocating a closure of colleges and high schools, but mainly in areas where the virus circulates the most (Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Alpes-Maritimes , etc.), as well as access to vaccines for all teachers.

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