A few hours away from a highly anticipated health defense council, Monday, December 27, the government once again finds itself with its back to the wall. His new dilemma? Maintain the start of the school year, Monday January 3, 2022, as planned, and thus allow more than 14 million schoolchildren, secondary school pupils, high school students and students to go to class almost normally or then postpone the start of the school year from one to several weeks. The goal is to face the Omicron variant and to try to contain an epidemic which has exceeded the sad record of 100,000 daily contaminations in France.
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If, according to information from franceinfo, the executive will not opt for a postponement of the start of the school year – Jean-Michel Blanquer, the Minister of National Education, swept this hypothesis on December 22 on the LCI set by talking about measure “contrary to common sense” – Emmanuel Macron is more than ever under pressure from caregivers. Fifty of them signed a tribune on Sunday in Sunday Newspaper to ask the government “the postponement of the start of the January 3 school year, at high risk given its proximity to the New Year’s festivities, with recourse to distance education “.
On the right, elected officials like Valérie Pécresse also urge the Head of State to postpone the resumption of classes. “We have to prepare for the start of the school year. And preparing for the start of the new school year, that probably means postponing the start of the new school year by a week, to protect the French “, launched the Republican presidential candidate on December 18 at the microphone of TF1.
Franceinfo explains why the nursing staff and certain elected officials are pleading for a postponement of the start of the school year beyond January 3.
Because the incidence rate is rising sharply in children and adolescents
In children under 10, the incidence rate has more than doubled in a month and a half. While less than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in one week were recorded at the very beginning of November, the bar of 500 weekly contaminations was crossed just before Christmas, according to figures from Public Health France. The incidence rate for kindergarten and primary schoolchildren had even exceeded 600 cases per 100,000 inhabitants just before the Christmas holidays, on the evening of December 17.
If the school holidays logically make it possible to reduce infections in children under 10 (514 cases per 100,000 inhabitants as of December 23), caregivers are therefore worried about an epidemic resumption in kindergarten and primary classes from the start. back to school.
On the other hand, there is no holiday effect among 10-18 year olds. According to Public Health France, the incidence rate for this category of the population has indeed gone from 450 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on December 1 to 786 just before Christmas.
Figures that worry health staff as much as those of total positive contamination since the beginning of November, even if the French are generally more and more tested. “Since the beginning of November, more than 300,000 children and adolescents have been confirmed positive for Covid-19”, alarmed the 50 caregivers in their platform addressed directly to the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.
Because the incidence rate is also exploding among 20-29 year olds
The situation is even more worrying among young adults, a category where the incidence rate has almost quadrupled in less than a month compared to the rest of the population. According to Public Health France, 1,416 positive cases were recorded on December 23, against around 400 on December 1.
The incidence rate among 20-29 year olds even exploded by 108% in the week of December 20 alone. The school holidays, which also began on December 17 for the 2.7 million students, had no effect on the decrease in contamination. A situation which can be explained by the fact that 20-29 year olds continue to have interactions after school, unlike those under 10 years old.
Because the vaccination rate in children is very low
The virus, and in particular the Omicron variant, circulates a lot among children under 10 years old because the opening to vaccination for 5-11 year olds only started on December 22, at the start of the school holidays.
A decision taken too late by the government? The caregivers who signed the forum say to themselves above all “worried about the comments of certain experts, who continue to downplay the impact of Covid-19 on children and question the value of vaccination for children aged 5-11, at the very moment when the vaccination campaign will be launched in France and requires a major effort to obtain the support of parents “.
For 12-17 year olds, the injection of vaccines has been possible since June 15 and December 23, 77.65% of this category of the population had received their complete vaccination schedule (two doses) according to figures from the Ministry of Health relayed by Covidtracker. But only 1.33% received three doses and 19.10% of them are not vaccinated at all.
Finally, concerning 18-29 year olds, only 17.59% received their booster dose on December 23, and more than 90% are doubly vaccinated.
Figures which are progressing but which remain for the moment very insufficient for the caregivers who alert the government. According to several studies carried out recently on Pfizer-BioNTech, vaccines indeed lose their effectiveness over time.
Because the wave of support for young people promises to be “unprecedented”
While the number of hospitalizations is rising sharply (16,365 over the last week) across the entire population and throughout France according to Public Health France, the 50 caregivers are worried in their forum about an increase in the number of hospitalized children. A figure that rises to 800 children under 10 and 300 adolescents aged 10 to 19 hospitalized in six weeks, according to the latter. “We notice a congestion of pediatric hospital services, a very marked hospital tension and a very important overload of the city medicine. It is important to do everything to minimize the risk of transmission in all age groups, and particularly in schools “, they explain.
Before adding: “We expect an unprecedented wave, in the coming weeks, of care for children with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, as well as sequelae linked to the evolution, in some cases, of a lasting form. disease (“long pediatric covid”) “.
Because the school is “not sufficiently supported financially” to fight against the virus
The signatories of the forum addressed to the government also deplore “the weak resources deployed so far by the Ministry of National Education to curb the epidemic in schools, whether to combat the airborne risk of contamination, or to organize effective testing campaigns “.
They therefore ask the executive to take several measures to remedy it, such as “raising the awareness of educational bodies on aerosol transmission and the practices to be adopted to limit the risk of airborne contamination of the virus: CO2 sensors, ventilation, ventilation, etc. “ or even a “new health protocol in schools, based on effective measures, triggered by epidemic indicators, known and anticipated” be put in place.