Health: Teachers, Physical Classrooms, and Covid-19

The Story:

On Thursday, the main labor union in France that represents the primary school teachers of that country, in a conflict typical of debates now going on around the world now threatens to go on strike because union members are being required to teach their schools’ children in person, and because they do not believe that adequate protections against transmission of the virus have been offered them.

Significance:

The French government has kept schools open through most of the pandemic, even at times when neighboring countries have closed them. It has been a matter on which the  government of President Emmanuel Macron has insisted. Now that a third wave of the disease is passing through France — and, indeed, Europe —  Macron’s resistance to school closings looks to the opposition like counter-productive obstinacy. The strike, if it happens, will strengthen that argument.

In Pill Form:

The latest round of testing indicates that only 0.13% of France’s students have tested positive for the virus. Nonetheless, schools have become a flashpoint and, in this, the politics of the Republic of France is not unique. In the United States, the issue of school re-openings is playing out on a state-by-state and even town-by-town basis, and will likely still be a contested point in some places this coming September.

 

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