Youngsters were assigned dystopian one-child “play squares” at a French school trying to figure out how to maintain social distancing as the national coronavirus lockdown eases.
Pictures shared on social media by Lionel Top, a journalist at BFMTV and RMCinfo, showed a variety of measures in place to try and maintain social distance at the school, with the most striking being a shot of children confined in lonely, chalk-outlined boxes as they played outside.
The Frenchman said there was a “Very strange, even disturbing atmosphere” at the school as it opened to a limited number of pupils, manned by schoolteachers wearing protective masks.
“And if these photos sadden us, imagine what the teachers feel,” he added, quoting one educator as having told him the situation “makes me sick, you can’t imagine”.
Pour faire respecter les distances, tout en profitant des récrés, l’équipe pédagogique a dessiné des carrés au sol pour les + petits. Les enfants jouent, dansent, sautent, rient ensemble… mais depuis ce carré.
De ce qu’on a vu, ils ne le vivent pas comme une punition https://t.co/i98ZltvteN
— Lionel Top (@lioneltop) May 12, 2020
Top did go on to add, however, that the children did at least appear to be taking the strange situation in stride.
“To ensure that distances are respected, while taking advantage of recreation, the educational team has drawn squares on the ground for the little ones. The children play, dance, jump, laugh together… but from this square,” he explained at length.
“From what we’ve seen, they don’t see it as a punishment.”
He said that while the photos “are striking and most of the reactions on Twitter show the same emotion,” it seemed that “the children this morning were not ‘unhappy’.”
The Chinese coronavirus does not appear to have a high mortality rate among children, although paediatricians have in recent weeks begun warning that the pandemic appears to be coinciding with a small but significant spike in Kawasaki syndrome among youngsters — an often deadly condition in which the heart and blood vessels become inflamed.
There are also concerns that children could become a vector for infections spreading among adults, infecting each other, their parents, and by extension those their parents come in contact with.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 16, 2020