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French parents torn as schools start to reopen after Covid-19 lockdown

Issued on: 12/05/2020 – 07:46Modified: 12/05/2020 – 07:46

Nursing and primary schools start reopen..

Issued on: Modified:

Nursing and primary schools start reopening across France on Tuesday as the government pushes for public life to resume after eight weeks under a coronavirus lockdown, with many parents deeply torn over sending their children back to the classroom.

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The French government has started easing some of the closure and home-confinement orders it imposed on March 17 to curb infections, with businesses permitted to reopen and residents cleared to return to workplaces from Monday.

Schools are one of the biggest flash points in the governments reopening plans, with many parents torn over the question of whether to send their children back to the classroom starting on Tuesday.

Only nursery and primary schools are set to start up at first, and classes will be capped at 10 students at preschools and 15 elsewhere. Administrators were told to prioritise instruction for children ages 5, 6 and 10.

Due to the slow startup, as well as ongoing fears about Covid-19 in hard-hit France, school attendance will not be compulsory right away. Parents and guardians may keep children at home and teachers will provide lessons like they have during the nationwide lockdown.

Students with parents who want or need to send them to school are not guaranteed places in the smaller classes and only will be allowed to attend if their school can accommodate them.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer estimated that 80 percent to 85 percent of Frances 50,500 preschools and elementary schools will open this week. Secondary schools in regions with fewer virus cases are expected to reopen on May 18. A target date hasnt been scheduled yet for Frances lycées, or high schools.

Given the ambiguous education guidance and uncertainties over spreading coronavirus, French parents are conflicted as they puzzle over making the most responsible decision.

Cecile Bardin, whose two sons are 6 and 2, said she thinks it is “too soon” to put them back in their nursery and primary schools in Paris.

“I am not reassured at the moment, because it will be very difficult to keep safe distance at school, especially for the little ones, who will want to play together,” Bardin told the Associated Press.

Mathilde Manaud and her partner are raising their 3-year-old and 7-year-old in Le Pre Saint-Gervais, in the French capitals eastern suburbs. They agreed to send the children back to school if there are spaces.

“Truth is, we dont know whether we are right to do so or no, we dont know if its a mistake. We ask ourselves this question every day, and we change our mind every day,” Manaud said. “We are trying to convince ourselves that if they are reopening, they assume they can handle the situation.”

Returning students will find their classrooms running differently. Teachers will wear masks and remind children to social distance from each other and to wash their hands several times a day.

French President Emmanuel Macron sought to reassure parents and teachers while visiting an elementary school in a town west of Paris last week. Macron said schools would reopen gradually because he wants “things done well.”

The school's director, Mathieu Morel, warned the president thaRead More – Source

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Europe

Italy reopens to tourists from Europe after economically crippling lockdown

Issued on: 03/06/2020 – 09:02Modified: 03/06/2020 – 09:02

Italy reopens to travellers from Europe ..

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Italy reopens to travellers from Europe on Wednesday, three months after the country went into coronavirus lockdown, with all hopes pinned on reviving the key tourism industry as the summer season begins.

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Gondolas are ready to punt along Venice's canals, lovers will be able to act out "Romeo and Juliet" on Verona's famed balcony, and gladiator fans can pose for selfies at Rome's Colosseum.

But there were fears many foreign tourists would be put off coming to a country still shaking off a vicious pandemic.

"Come to Calabria. There's only one risk: that you'll get fat," the southern region's governor Jole Santelli said on Sunday as the race began to lure big spenders — or any spenders — back to Italy's sandy shores.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and has officially reported more than 33,000 deaths.

It imposed an economically crippling lockdown in early March and has since seen its contagion numbers drop off dramatically.

With the country facing its deepest recession since World War II, it needs foreigners to return, and quickly.

But it is still reporting dozens of new cases a day, particularly in the northern Lombardy region, and experts warn the government may be being hasty in permitting travel between regions and abroad.

'Like a leper'

International flights were only expected to resume in three main cities: Milan, Rome and Naples.

And there were concerns that those who usually come in by car, train or ferry from neighbouring countries would go elsewhere on their holidays.

Switzerland has warned its citizens that if they go to Italy they will be subject to "health measures" on their return. The country will open its borders with Germany, France and Austria on June 15, but not with Italy.

Austria is lifting restrictions in mid-June with Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary — but again, not Italy, described last week by Vienna's health minister as "still a hotspot".

Other countries, such as Belgium and Britain, are still advising against, or forbidding, all non-essential travel abroad.

In response to perceived anti-Italian sentiment, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has warned countries not to treat Italy "like a leper".

He said Saturday he would be travelling to Germany, Slovenia and Greece to persuade them Italy is safe for foreign tourists.

Arrivals in Italy from Europe will not be required to self-isolate unless they have recently travelled from another continent.

Too expensive

Italy's lockdown has had a particularly devastating effect on the tourism sector, which amounts to some 13 percRead More – Source

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Europe

Covid-19: France records more than 100 new deaths as country’s lockdown eases

Issued on: 02/06/2020 – 21:15Modified: 02/06/2020 – 21:15

France's Covid-19 death toll rose b..

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France's Covid-19 death toll rose by more than 100 for the first time in 13 days on Tuesday, as the country enacts a new easing of lockdown measures.

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The French health ministry said that the number of fatalities had risen by 107, or 0.4 percent, to 28,940, the fifth-highest tally in the world.

It also said the number of Covid-19>Read More – Source

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Europe

France denounces Ryanair ‘blackmail’ in employee pay-cut-or-redundancy ultimatum

Issued on: 02/06/2020 – 17:52Modified: 02/06/2020 – 17:52

France on Tuesday denounced as “blackmai..

Issued on: 02/06/2020 – 17:52Modified: 02/06/2020 – 17:52

France on Tuesday denounced as "blackmail" an ultimatum from low-cost carrier Ryanair for its French employees to choose between a five-year pay cut or a number of redundancies in an escalating labour dispute.

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The offer from the Dublin-based no-frills carrier, long accused by critics of abrasive labour tactics, comes as the aviation industry grapples with an unprecedented crisis after the collapse in global demand for air travel due to the coronavirus.

"Blackmail is never an option," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL radio. "Jobs will be protected by imaginative solutions, but definitely not through blackmail," he said.

The aviation industry is facing drastic losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has closed borders across the world and paralysed air transport.

Ryanair has already announced plans to axe 3,000 pilot and cabin crew jobs, or 15 percent of staff across its European network.

In France, Ryanair operates from hubs including the Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux airports.

The Irish company has told French unions to accept plans to cut wages by 20 percent for pilots and 10 percent for stewards and air hostesses from July 2020, or face the redundancy of 23 pilots and 27 cabin crew staff.

Under current plans, staffers who are earning minimum wage would see their work time cut by 20 percent. Employees would progressively regain their salary up until 2025.

'They're not playing the game'

Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud said she was "shocked" by Ryanair's proposal and said the company must go back to the drawing board and "really talk (with employees), but not blackmail."

Since 2017 companies can open up talks with their employRead More – Source

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