No Covid health pass required at school says French education minister

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A vaccination campaign in colleges and high schools will begin in September for students over 12 years old who want it but "there will be no health pass at school" the French Education minister announced on Sunday.

"School must remain accessible for all, that's why there won't be a health pass required," French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said in an interview with the weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche (JDD).

"It's our philosophy since the beginning of the crisis."

For teachers, Blanquer deemed it "neither legitimate, nor desirable, nor useful" to require a health pass, preferring to rely on "a logic of trust and responsibility".

He outlined the health protocol for the start of the academic year on 2 September, described as "level 2".

Classes will take place on site in schools, colleges and high schools. Masks will be compulsory indoors from primary school onwards, with a limited mixing of groups and reinforced ventilation.

"In all secondary schools in France, pupils and staff will have access to the vaccine, near or within their establishment", said Blanquer.

About 55% of the 12-17 years old have already received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine since this summer.

No health pass required for teachers

In case of contamination in a classroom, the seven-day isolation period will not be required for vaccinated pupils, "the same rule as for the rest of the population", said the minister.

In primary schools, as children are not old enough to be vaccinated, the rule remains that the entire class will be closed for seven days.

To protect medical confidentiality, the vaccination status of the pupil will be communicated on the basis of a certificate of vaccination from the parents.

"Parents are free not to say whether their child is vaccinated or not, but this is their individual responsibility and will determine whether the contact student can be isolated or continue to attend classes," the minister explained.

For school outings, pupils will not be asked for a health pass in places where they are not mixed with the public (swimming pools or libraries).

However, from 30 September onwards, they will be asked for a health pass from the age of 12 in places where it is required.

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