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Why has the health protocol become more flexible in schools in the face of the English variant?

Tracked with concern by the health authorities, the British variant no longer benefits from special treatment in schools. Since 1er February, a confirmed case of the mutation resulted in the immediate closure of the classroom, when three virus diagnoses “General” imposed the same decision – with the exception of kindergarten, where the ax fell from the first contamination, regardless of the strain. The rule did not last two weeks.

→ READ. Covid-19: in the face of variants, a new protocol in schools

On February 12, a modification of the health protocol aligned the diet of the English variant with the original form of SARS-CoV-2: from kindergarten to high school, one class is now “Automatically closed” when three cases are confirmed. For South African and Brazilian mutants, closure is required from the first positive pupil or “Living in the home of a confirmed case” ; but she won’t be “Automatic” after “The appearance of one of these [deux] variants in a staff “.

Variant responsible for 20 to 25% of contamination

Of the three most scrutinized changes, English is now the subject of much more flexible monitoring in schools. A change “Incomprehensible” for epidemiologist Mahmoud Zureik. “As soon as its contagiousness is greater than the historical strain of SARS-CoV-2, more stringent standards are necessary to limit its circulation”, explains the professor of public health at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin.

Carried by a “Increased transmissibility from 36 to 75%” according to Public Health France, the British variant would be “Responsible for 20% to 25% of infections”, estimated the Minister of Health Olivier Véran on February 11, against 3.3% in early January. A penetration which would justify that a less restrictive framework be applied to it in schools, defends on the contrary another epidemiologist, Philippe Amouyel.

“Psychologically, it’s very difficult to bear, but the change makes epidemiologic sense, assures the professor of public health at the Lille University Hospital. It should be more sensitive [et de fermer la classe dès le premier cas] when we are in the low frequency phase of a mutation and we can still hope to eliminate it. But with such rates [de présence parmi les contaminations], it no longer makes sense to apply such strict rules to the English variant. “

A modified protocol ” in catimini “

For National Education, the modifications to the protocol and the end of the exception applied to the English variant would facilitate the control of contact cases. “Close more massively [les classes] would make contact-tracing and testing more difficult, supports the ministry to The cross. Instead of testing an entire establishment, each student should be found at home, where the barrier gestures are very different. “

→ EXPLANATION. Covid-19 vaccine: the answers to your questions

Evidence of the attention paid to the chains of viral transmission: the “Identification and isolation process” case-contact now begins with the first confirmed case in a class or establishment, against three previously. Explanations that do not convince the unions, ” surprised “ of imposed modifications ” in catimini “.

1,599 classes closed by the Covid-19

“By dint of perpetual changes, no one can find their way around”, deplores Frédérique Rolet, general secretary Snes-FSU, majority in secondary. The representative denounces a ” lack of transparency “ and the “Triumphalist speech of the minister”, Jean-Michel Blanquer, on continuing education.

“He is proud to say that we do not close many classes and that we have better control of the circulation of the virus than other European countries”, abounds Ghislaine David, general secretary Snuipp-FSU (first degree). As of February 11, the Covid-19 had nevertheless led to the closure of 1,599 classes, against 934 the previous week. An increase of 71% even though zone A had meanwhile gone on leave.


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