School: The Covid protocol (a little) lightened, here’s what you need to know

Due to Omicron’s meteoric growth, the government has implemented a new Covid protocol at school. What if your child is contact? What tests to perform? We explain to you.

Sunday evening, on the eve of the start of the school year, the Ministry of Education unveiled a new Covid-19 health protocol for the school. The objective: no longer close the classes, even if 3 cases are positive.

To summarize, the Covid protocol is as follows: a PCR or antigen must be carried out for all the children in a class as soon as a positive case is discovered. Thus the child can return to class upon presentation of the (negative) result. Then, he must carry out a self-test at home on D + 2 then D + 4, a certificate of the result by the parents sufficient in this case to stay in school.

Problem: yesterday there were 47,453 positive cases in students, 5,631 in adults, 92020 classes are closed, queues for tests are getting longer and self-tests are out of stock in many cities.

Also, the Ministry of Education has decided to lighten (a little) the protocol. Thereby :

  • The fact that a student performs a positive self-test on D2 or D4 does not imply re-screening the whole class.. In other words, when a new positive case appears in a class within a period of less than seven days, the students will no longer have to complete the three tests. “The screening cycle only restarts if the second confirmed case has had contact with other students after a period of 7 days following the identification of the first case, “said the ministry.
  • Antigenic tests can be used in the event of temporary unavailability of self-tests in pharmacies.

The ministry’s FAQ can be downloaded here: https://www.education.gouv.fr/covid-19-questions-reponses.

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National education has also ordered 55 million surgical masks to equip the staff of schools and educational establishments, with first deliveries from mid-January.

As Omicron sweeps across France, the isolation rules for positive cases and contact cases have also evolved to limit absenteeism and not paralyze the country. The first virological data available for the Omicron variant indeed show a shorter incubation time of the Omicron variant than for the previous variants, going in favor of a possible reduction in the isolation time.

Vigilance is maintained for the ventilation of the rooms and the limitation of mixing. Are still encouraged by the Ministry of Education, air purifiers, CO2 sensors.

Category 1 “general public” masks must be worn from 6 years old

Wearing a Category 1 “general public” mask remains compulsory for staff and for students of elementary schools, colleges and high schools. This follows the recommendations of the High Council of Public Health to no longer use handmade masks, judged less effective than so-called “category 1” masks manufactured by manufacturers.

In nursery schools, the mask remains banned.

When the mask is not in use, it can either be hung from an insulated hook or folded up without outside / inside contacts (without rolling it up) and stored in an individual pouch.

Classroom ventilation every hour and reinforced disinfection

The protocol recalls that the ventilation of premises and classrooms must be “as frequent as possible”. The ventilation must last at least 15 minutes in the morning before the arrival of the pupils, during intercourse, during each recess, at lunch time (in the absence of people) and during the cleaning of the premises. And aeration of a few minutes must also take place every hour.

Furthermore, in the event of mechanical ventilation, its proper functioning and maintenance must be ensured.

Limitation of brews and group lunches in the canteen

Students in the same class have lunch together while maintaining a distance of at least two meters with those of other classes, against a meter previously. The ministry specifies that “the stability of groups of students having lunch at the same table is privileged”.

In middle and high school, “when the respect of the distance of two meters between pupils is materially impossible, it is advisable to have lunch the pupils of the same group (class, groups of class or level) together and, to the extent of the possible, always at the same table. A distance of at least two meters is respected between the groups. “

Outside the canteen, the circulation rules for students are unchanged to limit mixing between students (arrivals and departures spread over time, breaks in groups, limited travel, etc.).

What if my child has a symptom?

Your child flies, coughs, complains about the throat … Wondering if it is a cold or the coronavirus?

“In the event of suggestive symptoms1 of Covid-19 or fever (38 ° C or more), the child must not go to school and the parents take advice from the attending physician who decides on the measures to be taken “, indicates the Ministry of Education.

In this case, the parents must inform the school principal or the head of the establishment, specifying the reason. In addition, it is essential that parents immediately inform the school or school if the student or another member of the household has Covid-19, or if the student has been identified as a risk contact. A lack of rapid information would not make it possible to identify and interrupt the chains of transmission in the school environment. “

In the event of a positive test, once the school principal or the head of the establishment has been informed, your child must stay at home while he is taking care of himself. Exclusion from the class is 7 days from the date of onset of symptoms (or even 5 days in the event of a negative test on D + 5 and in the absence of symptoms). Conversely, in the event of fever on the 7th day, isolation continues for up to 48 hours after the disappearance of symptoms.

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