French schools 'overwhelmed' by COVID

With new testing and contact-tracing rules introduced at the start of this term, the headteacher, Aristide Adeilkalam, now faces a huge challenge.

"It is very, very, very complicated," Aidelkalam said, his glasses fogging up because of his face mask. The school has 620 students and 40 teachers.

France has put emphasis on keeping schools open in recent months, no longer rushing to shut down classes with positive coronavirus cases, and it did not extend holidays to let Omicron and Delta waves pass, unlike some of its EU neighbors.

However, schools say it has become very hard to cope with the high increase in COVID-19 cases and the new testing rules.

When a schoolchild tests positive for COVID-19, the rest of their class must each perform three tests over five days - the first has to be test a PCR or antigenic test at a testing center, the other two a self-administered test. This has exacerbated the already long queues to get tested at pharmacies and labs as cases numbers rose to record-highs.

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