Daily Express


- By Peter Allen

NURSERY school kids sit or play alone in chalked-out isolation squares in an image branded “heartbreak­ing” and “inhuman”.

Lionel Top snapped the three and four-year-olds, back in classes after almost two months of lockdown, being kept apart in their playground in Tourcoing, northern France, on Tuesday.

The TV journalist, with the country’s BFM news channel, said: “To ensure respect for distances, while taking advantage of recreation, the teaching team drew squares on the ground. The children play, dance, jump, laugh together... but from this square.”

Tweeting the image, historian Laurence De Cock said: “I can’t get over this. This is heartbreak­ing. We can’t call this ‘school’.”

Other commentato­rs also expressed sadness and anger. Myriam Cau said: “I’ve never seen such a sad picture. It’s horrible to subject children to this.’

Twitter use Lily said: “Just inhuman, shameful for children but also for teachers and institutes! What horror!” And Antoine Diot said: “The picture of the children in the chalk squares will eventually illustrate this strange situation in history books.”

The Ministry of Education in Paris said there was no “specific instructio­n” for teachers to draw chalk squares for pupils.

But it confirmed everybody was under instructio­n to “maintain social distancing” and not share anything.

Latest figures in France show a total 26,991 Covid-19 deaths and 140,227 cases since the pandemic began.

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