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Covid-19: the Scientific Council recommends more screening of children to avoid closing classes – LCI

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SCREENING – As the start of the school year under close surveillance due to the spread of the Delta variant approaches, the Scientific Council calls on the government to deploy more screening tests in schools from September 2.

Prevent cascading class closings. This is the objective of the Scientific Council, which calls on the government to generalize screening campaigns in schools and to make them more regular, contrary to what is planned.

“In this unvaccinated population, the risk of intense circulation of the virus at the start of the school year is very high”, recalls the government’s advisory body in an alert note submitted on August 20, and online this friday. “The rule of closing classes from the first case could make the reopening of the primary very complex.”

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Based on a recent modeling study, the Scientific Council indicates that“bi-weekly screening” with “a membership of 50% of the school population (…) would keep classes open if foundlings found infected are sent home. “” Studies show that above 50%, there is value to be screened on a regular basis. “, confirms the Chairman of the Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy.

Also, the Council “regrets the abandonment of (massive) screening” by the State, for the benefit of vaccination, which would nevertheless help achieve the objective “to keep classes and schools open in order to preserve the education and mental health of children.”

600,000 weekly saliva tests

For his part, the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, assured this Thursday to deploy “600,000 weekly saliva tests” in primary schools, which welcome around 4 million pupils, to avoid any contamination.

According to the Council, this should also be considered in middle and high schools: “In adolescents, screening could also bring a significant benefit for the control of the epidemic, population still partially vaccinated (more than 50%) and where the efforts to be carried out to control the circulation of the virus will be in fact less important”.

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The advisory body also warns that the health pass “should not be understood or implemented as absolute protection against contamination”. He “does not exempt” of “respect barrier gestures as much as possible” such as physical distancing, ventilation of the premises and wearing a mask.

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