French schools return amid increased health and safety measures
Paris, Nov 2 (efe-epa).- French schools resumed on Monday after a two-week autumn holiday amid a national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and reinforced security measures after a series of terror attacks in the country.
Nearly 12 million elementary and high school students returned to classes, with masks mandatory for children from the age of six years old.
“The more efforts we make, the sooner we will regain a normal life,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Instagram.
He acknowledged that “these last 15 days have been a hard blow for everyone”.
On Thursday, a Tunisian man killed three people – one of whom was decapitated – in a knife attack on a cathedral in Nice.
He was shot by police during his arrest and taken to hospital.
That attack came just two weeks after a 47-year-old teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by an Islamist extremist outside his school near Paris.
Paty had shown a caricature of the prophet Muhammad published by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – also a target of Islamist attacks in 2015 – to his pupils during a discussion on freedom of speech.
Prime Minister Jean Castex and education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer visited the scene of the attack and participated in a minute of silence that took place in schools across the country in tribute to the murdered teacher.
“It is not normal for a teacher to be killed, do you all understand? It is important to come to school, learn and respect other children,” Castex told children.