Heartbreaking Photos Show Nursery Children Playing In Isolation As France Reopens Schools

A picture of little children at a nursery school playing apart from each other separated by squares drawn with chalk has saddened many in people in France and across the world. 

The photo was snapped by Lionel Top, a journalist by profession, last Tuesday in the town of Tourcoing, near the border with Belgium. It shows children trying to play on the ground isolated from each other by chalk squares.

Image credit: Lionel Top

About 1.5 million kids in elementary and primary schools went back to classes this week after the government in France eased down its restrictions on the COVID-19 lockdown.

Image credit: Lionel Top

Lionel said:

“The children are coming back today (a small number of them). Very strange, even disturbing atmosphere.

To ensure respect for distances, while taking advantage of recreation, the teaching team drew squares on the ground for the little ones.”

He added:

“The children play, dance, jump, laugh together… but from this square. From what we have seen, they do not view it as a punishment.”

Laurence De Cock, a historian by profession, also wrote a Twitter post, saying:

“I cannot get over it. This image is heartbreaking. We cannot call this ‘school’.”

The picture was shared worldwide, and many people said the kids looked like “prisoners” while referring to the social distancing rule as “inhuman”.

One person said:

“School is about playing together, growing up together… It is learning to live in society. There, in this photo, you look like prisoners.”

Another said:

“This photo… so insane. No, school is definitely not that!”

A third person commented:

“I’ve never seen such a sad picture.

It’s horrible to subject children to this.”

And another Twitter user wrote:

“Shameful for children but also for teachers and institutes! What horror!!!!”

What are your thoughts on this saddening situation? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it of value.

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