23.03.2020 Europe

French school children could be forced to stay at home until May 4

By David Roe with RFI
French school children could be forced to stay at home until May 4
LISTEN MAR 23, 2020

As children all over France start to take advantage of the televised school programs on national television, the minister for education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, has said that children could be forced to stay home until May 4.

In an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien on Sunday, Balnquer said that keeping children at him until May 4th is currently the 'preferred scenario' of the government but will depend on the evolution of the current outbreak in France and how successful efforts to contain it may be.

"It's not an announcement because everything will depend on the evolution of the coronavirus and we are applying what the health ministry tells us," a spokesman for the minister said.

When asked whether the school year could be extended into the summer holidays, he said that, now at least, the intention was not to cut into the summer holidays.

While the ministry for education is currently looking that the timing of the  baccalaureate – the exam at the end of second-level education – and other diplomas, the end of the academic year at the end of May is still the preferred option, although they are "working on different scenarios depending on the duration of the confinement".

In response to question about inequalities of access between children  who are linked to home schooling, the minister said that  "free support modules for the most disadvantaged children" would be introduced after the crisis,” and at the latest the end of August.

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