It is not yet 3 p.m. when Régéna and Nissrina are already graduating from Montesquieu college, north of the town of Évry-Courcouronnes in Essonne (91). Mask on the nose, light T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, the two teenagers look a little helpless. Each has in her hand her correspondence book and a letter from the principal, informing their parents that the class was closed for seven days. "
The Principal came to the classroom and told us that we were all going home because a case of Covid had been spotted
." Nissrina is in fourth and two weeks before summer vacation, she will have to be tested again and wait for a negative result to return to college on June 23.
Read also: Covid-19: could we implement the vaccination of children in schools?
A few meters further on, Samir and Noé are looking for a shady spot to escape the ambient 37 ° C. They too have only one word in their mouths on Tuesday, June 15: the Indian variant. Indeed, the information spread like wildfire, six people including a student have tested positive for this new mutation, called Delta since the new appointment established by the WHO. The class in question was immediately closed and the students sent home for a week. Only those armed with a negative test, acting as a pass, returned to sit on Monday, June 14 on the chairs of the college, three days after the cluster was identified following the sequencing of the children's tests.
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Difficult screening operation
In 24 hours, a wind of panic has blown over this establishment of 511 students, confirms
, a member of the administration who preferred to remain anonymous. A screening operation within the establishment has been launched since Monday evening. Of the 140 tests carried out, only one was positive, reveals to
the Academy of Versailles on which the college depends. "
And it has not yet been sequenced so we do not know if it is the carrier of the Indian mutation
", tries to reassure the rectorate. For their part, the students are more skeptical.
“Almost no one has been tested in my class,”
says Roy, a fourth grader.
Their parents had not given their permission.
In fact, unlike adults, a child can only be screened with the approval of his parents, whether for a saliva, antigen test or even a PCR.
To try to counter this difficulty and increase the sample of students tested, the ARS Île-de-France sent a team from the Red Cross to the site.
Aware of the characteristics of this mutation, 40% more contagious and responsible for the epidemic recovery in the United Kingdom, the regional health agency has imagined a rapid response.
Located a few meters from the college, three barnums are ready to welcome students and their families.
Everyone around them must be tested
, implores an employee.
They are all potentially contact cases.
We also welcome anyone from the municipality
», The mutated virus certainly circulating among the inhabitants.
The more important the screening, the more the health authorities will be able to have a precise idea of the spread of the variant by sequencing the samples, complete with Le
, the ARS Île-de-France.
The Red Cross took over and set up a screening center a few meters from the college.
MLM / Le Figaro
However, facilities are not enough, you need volunteers. And for this, the Red Cross teams do not hesitate to meet the inhabitants. As soon as it is snack time, a new volley of students escapes from the college. Members of the Red Cross are waiting for them there: "
Do you want to come and get tested?" It's fast and we're delicate, it doesn't hurt
”. Few say yes because they lack the time and precious permission of their parents. But the association is not losing hope and hopes to participate in the massive screening of the population which will extend over several days. “
You just need a period of teaching
, blows a manager
, but young people are starting to be well informed.
Students sensitized but not yet vaccinated
I protect myself as best I can,”
says Aymane, 12, who is afraid for her mother's health.
We wear the mask well, people are more careful than before even if some do not always respect the rules
Since Monday, the college nurse has been passing through all the classes to remind them of the barrier gestures and urge them to go for testing.
For the moment, no additional measures have been taken within the establishment.
In the meantime, speculations and anxieties are rife.
The teacher said the college was going to close
», Noé worries, but no such decision has yet been taken by management.
The health protocol will be respected, we reassure on the side of the Academy, a class will close in the first case of Covid, as it has been required since May 3.
Read also: Vaccine: towards debates organized in class to raise awareness among young people
For the teaching team, the solution mainly involves prevention.
Students must wear their masks even outside of school because the virus circulates mainly outside
, asks an official.
We do not know how the cluster appeared, but certainly from outside. ”
If it is still not very widespread on French territory, between 2% and 4% of new contaminations come from it, according to Olivier Véran, the Indian variant is closely monitored by the health authorities.
Read also: Covid-19: for the Pasteur Institute, the Pfizer vaccine remains effective against the Indian variant
To win this new race against time, the government wants to speed up the vaccine campaign, in particular by extending the latency period between the two doses or by opening it to adolescents since Tuesday, June 15. Among the students of the college Montesquieu, opinions are divided. If Aymane and Noé think of being vaccinated "
if their parents agree
", Roy, Mariam do not think about it, Régéna and Nissrina still hesitate. From Thursday, June 17, a vaccination operation for all the inhabitants of Évry-Courcouronnes who wish will be organized at the Carpentier gymnasium, informs the ARS Île-de-France.