As countries around the world begin to lift lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, photos of schoolchildren around the world reveal what reopening schools looks like post-lockdown. And it’s a harrowing glimpse into what American schools may look like come September.
Lionel Top, a local reporter in Tourcoing, France, took to Twitter with heartbreaking photos last week, as approximately 1.5 million of the country’s preschool and elementary age students returned to classes for the first time in over two months.
Les enfants font leur rentrée aujourd’hui (un petite partie d’entre-eux plutôt).
Ambiance très étrange, voire dérangeante… pic.twitter.com/g91y5hLatJ
— Lionel Top (@lioneltop) May 12, 2020
“There was a sadness,” Top told TODAY Parents, adding that the atmosphere was “very strange, even disturbing.”
Top says those feelings were mostly evident in the adults though. The children were happy, and did not see their new normal as a punishment.
“They laughed and played together but from far away,” he explained.
France’s reopening schools comes on the heels of Denmark, the first country in Europe to bring kids back to elementary schools. They’re making it work by enforcing hourly hand washing schedules, and social distancing.
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Still, teachers say students forget from time to time that touching is dangerous and hugs are off limits.
In China, schools have been open for the past month, and teachers are using creativity to teach some of the youngest students what 6 feet apart looks and feels like.