Europe is going back to school despite recent virus surge

PARIS (AP) — A mother and her three children scanned the school supplies in a Paris supermarket, plucking out multicolored fountain pens, crisp notebooks – and plenty of masks. Despite resurgent coronavirus infections, similar scenes are unfolding across Europe as a new school year dawns.Virus or no virus, European authorities are determined to put children back into classrooms, to narrow the learning gaps between haves and have-nots that deepened during lockdowns – and to get their parents back to work.Facing a jump in virus cases, authorities in France, Britain, Spain and elsewhere are imposing mask rules, hiring extra teachers and building new desks en masse.While the U.S. back-to-school saga has been politicized and chaotic, with a hodgepodge of fast-changing rules and backlash against President Donald Trump’s insistence on reopening, European governments have faced less of an uproar.And even though the virus has invaded classrooms in recent days from Berlin to Seoul, and some teachers and parents warn that their schools aren’t ready, European leaders from the political left, right and center are sending an unusually consistent message: Even in a pandemic, children are better off in class.France’s prime minister promised Wednesday to “do everything” to get people back to school
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