The 8th wave of Covid “boosted” by the start of the school year: what could the protocol at school evolve towards?

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the Covid-19 figures in France, where the 8th wave seems to have a strong impact on children. With +33% positive cases in one week, is the health protocol in schools set to evolve? National Education has four alert levels.

Has the 8th wave of Covid-19 in France, announced for months by infectious disease specialists, started? The number of contaminations has jumped in recent days, with +33% positive cases in one week and an uninterrupted rise for six days. In total, nearly 18,000 cases of Covid-19 are recorded every day in the country.

Children under 10 strongly impacted by the resumption of the epidemic

If these figures are far from those recorded at the height of the epidemic, they are closely monitored by the Ministry of Health. “We are going to have an eighth wave, so we have to be vigilant. (…) Appeal to the responsibility of our fellow citizens”, warned the Minister of Health on Friday September 9.

The latest figures released by Santé Publique France clearly show that it is the youngest citizens who bear the full brunt of the resumption of contamination. Less than two weeks after the start of the school year, it is among children under 10 that the strong comeback of the virus is most present. The incidence rate in this age group is at its highest, specify our colleagues from franceinfo.

Back to school boosts the 8th wave

In question, a variant Omicron BA.5 certainly less dangerous, but extremely contagious. Can the contamination figures push the government to raise the level of health protocol in schools? No announcement has yet been made.

Since the start of the school year, on September 1, this protocol has been “at the base”, i.e. the lowest level of alert. French schoolchildren, middle and high school students are all welcomed face-to-face, without wearing a mandatory mask, and physical and sports activities are maintained. Mixing of students is also authorized, especially during extracurricular times or in the canteens.

What are the different health protocols at school?

Above this “base”, National Education has three alert levels ranging from green to red, each with their own set of more or less restrictive health measures:

Level 1 / green

  • Ventilation of the premises and mandatory hand washing
  • Wearing a mask according to the rule applied in the public space
  • Disinfection of surfaces once a day

Level 2 / orange

  • All level 1 measures
  • Obligation to limit the mixing of students by level
  • Disinfection of surfaces several times a day
  • Distance to be adapted during indoor physical activities

Level 3 / red

  • All level 2 measures
  • Alternation between face-to-face and distance courses for high school students depending on the local health context
  • Obligation to limit the mixing of students per class
  • Disinfection of dining hall tables after each meal
  • Prohibition of “high intensity” physical activities indoors

The 8th wave of Covid “boosted” by the start of the school year: what could the protocol at school evolve towards?