Back-to-school in the United States: already quarantines imposed

Rentrée scolaire aux États-Unis: déjà des quarantaines imposées

Rentrée scolaire aux États-Unis: déjà des quarantaines imposées

The students have returned to school in some american States.

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August 7, 2020 14h03

Updated at 21: 45

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Back-to-school in the United States: already quarantines imposed

Issam Ahmed

Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON — The school year has begun, in person, in several u.s. States, including where the coronavirus is still circulating actively, and quarantines have already had to be imposed after the appearance of cases among students.

In the United States the return is spread generally throughout the month of August, and in the face of the epidemic is very strong in the country, a division was installed. On the one hand, larger cities (Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami…) have decided that reentry would be entirely virtual.

The governor of the State of New York, the epicenter of the epidemic in the spring who was able to bring a low level contamination, announced Friday that the schools would reopen in person in areas where the rate of positive tests is under 5 % — most of the State is around 1 % today.

But the city of New York, who said to consider a hybrid model with a three-day class, has not yet confirmed the format of the start of September for its 1.1 million students.

On the other hand, governors of States republicans have insisted that the students all return in class, on the line of Donald Trump.

This is the case of the Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, or Indiana, where schools have re-opened their doors this week or last week. In these regions the epidemic has stabilized since the end of July or early August, but at a very high level: these States are far from being back to their peaks.

Rentrée scolaire aux États-Unis: déjà des quarantaines imposées

This is the back-to-school in Dallas, Georgia.

Twitter via AP

The level of risk tolerated by the local authorities, is without common measure with other countries. And the Mississippi, a rural State of three million inhabitants, has recorded 296 new cases for 100 000 inhabitants in the last seven days, compared to… 34 Paris, and 43 in the Mayenne, department of the French metropolis is the most affected currently.

After the occurrence of the first event last Friday at the Corinth School District, and then other, about a hundred students have been placed in quarantine.

The county where the high school reported a rate of positive tests 25 %, and intensive care units are full, according to the website CovidActNow.

The governor, Tate Reeves, a republican, has long refused to enact similar restrictions, and has made wearing a mask mandatory everywhere in the State on Wednesday. It has, however, pushed back to the secondary in the homes of the epidemic.

“For me it is rather positive”, he defended himself on Fox News on Wednesday. “The system works, it has identified positive cases, we have found their contacts, and we are trying to protect these children.”

Quarantines or closures of institutions have also been adopted in Indiana and Tennessee.

The United States is facing a resurgence of the epidemic since the end of June. On Friday, they have recorded 1 062 people dead and more than 52 000 new cases of coronavirus, according to the count on Friday at 20: 30 from the Johns Hopkins university.

No rule

Also, the virtual education seems to take the favor of the school officials and parents: two-thirds of Americans want a back to school mostly virtual, according to a poll by NPR.

Rentrée scolaire aux États-Unis: déjà des quarantaines imposées

The Mississippi, a rural State of three million inhabitants, has recorded 296 new cases for 100 000 inhabitants in the past seven days.

AP, via Adam Robison (The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal)

Teachers, and their unions, have also exerted a strong pressure on the policy makers, fearing for their health if a return to the classroom and was introduced as a mandatory subject. Two-thirds prefer to teach online in the fall, according to another poll NPR this week.

The debate is parasitized by the policy. Donald Trump has made reopening it a priority, but the decision is not of him.

The pressure of the White House has led the Centers for disease control (CDC) to publish new guidelines bias clearly in favour of a re-opening, because of the risks of early school leaving, in particular for the most vulnerable populations, and children with disabilities.

Number of pediatricians and experts agree that teaching at the school is more fruitful, and essential to the balance of the children, but they emphasize that this can only be done if the epidemic, locally, is under control.

However, the federal government is kept to set numerical criteria, in terms of the impact of the virus, to guide local decision-makers.

“The example of the Mississippi river should serve as a warning to show what happens when it re-opens before the level of transmission is the content”, said to theAFP, Thomas Tsai, Harvard. “All the masks and air filters in the world will not be able to minimize the risk if the COVID explodes around schools,” it warns.

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