A mother and her three children browsed school supplies in a Paris supermarket selecting multicolored fountain pens, notebooks, and plenty of masks.
The scene reflects the dawn of a new school year across Europe amid the resurgence of coronavirus infections following the Summer holidays.
European authorities are determined to narrow the learning gaps between the haves and have-nots that have worsened during coronavirus lockdowns.
That means virus or no virus, they are resolute on having children return to the classrooms.
The decision to push ahead with getting children to start class is part of European governments’ effort 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 US 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.