News in France with the covid-19

Madeleine Larzul

 Similarly to the United States, France has been struggling with the coronavirus since the end of February.  As of March 25, 2020, there are 25,233 cases with 1,331 deaths in France. 

On March 12, 2020, President Macron made a speech to all the French citizens regarding the outbreak. Macron announced that all citizens above the age of 70 must stay in their homes as much as possible to avoid contact with people, all companies should work remotely if they can, and all nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools, and universities would be closed until further notice. Additionally, Macron explained that there will be limited gatherings and public transports. Now, all stores are closed except for bakeries where French get their bread and pastries, pharmacy, and a few grocery stores.

From talking to friends and family in France, it has been hard for them. Given most of them live in apartments, it is hard for them to leave their apartment without having anyone near them. Juniors and Seniors in high school have to take the Baccalaureate exam which is the final exam at the end of high school in June to graduate.  Most of the students are stressed out about the exam since most of them do not have online classes like what we have in the Rye system, so they are worried that they will not be ready.  I have asked friends and members from different parts of France to describe their experience, and their opinion on the Covid-19 to give you an insight on what is happening there. 

The first person is a student called Alexandra who is an 11th grader at a French-American school in Paris, France. She explains her daily weekday stuck at home “I wake up at 8 am every morning because I have to attend my virtual online classes on an app called Zoom. I am extremely grateful to be able to participate in these virtual online classes because many other schools in France do not offer this. Most students in other schools have to organize their own school schedules and prepare for their national exams themselves with only a few emails from teachers. At 1:30 pm, my family and I have lunch. Then, at 6 pm I finish my online classes and play a board game with my family to relax. Afterward, we have dinner and at 7:30 pm we watch the health minister speak on the television. Finally, at 8 pm we turn on the news and join the other French citizens in applauding on our balconies to show our support and love towards the french doctors who sacrifice their lives to help those in need.” 

Then, I asked another student from another part of France, in the region of Brittany who is a 12th grader in a French public school. Saba explains her opinions on the Covid-19 measures “ I am extremely upset because I see a lot of people that aren’t following the strict measures of staying at home. People should be working from home, and not leaving to go to work. The only exceptions to leave are going to the grocery store, the pharmacy and maybe once in a while for a walk, but people must keep their distance. I really hope this will end soon, so that everyone can go back to work, and that students like me can take the baccalaureate exam.” 

The third person is my grandmother who is an 80-year-old resident in an apartment in Nantes, France. This is what she explains, “ I spend my day knitting, reading, watching TV, playing the piano, and cooking. My neighbors know that it is dangerous for me to go outside, so they go to the supermarket to buy the essential foods that I need and bring them to my front door. They are extremely careful to not spread any germs by putting a mask on and gloves. In every town in France at 8 pm, people stand on their balconies or gardens applauding for a couple of minutes to honor all the doctors and nurses who take the risk in helping other people. ”

Then, I asked another resident from Nantes, France, who is a 41 years old woman called Christine. She lives with her husband in an apartment. Christine says “  Since France has been on lockdown, my husband has been working from home on his computer. The first week was stressful, but now we have organized ourselves by only leaving our apartment once a week to go grocery shopping. For the moment, I spend my days cleaning my flat, relaxing in my garden, cooking, watching Television, and calling my friends and my family. I am afraid for my parents who live far away from me, but I keep in touch with them every day on the phone. Everyone in our town respects the rules for the Covid-19, and I hope that people will stay in good health.”

Finally, the last person is my cousin, Julie, who is in her first year at a business school in Lille, France. Her school had to shut down due to the virus, so she is now back at home with her parents in Tours, France. Julie explains  ” I am a 21-year-old student, and I am in my first year in business school. My school had to close because of the virus, so I am back home in Tours, France with my parents. It has been hard not to see my friends anymore, but I try my best to stay occupied. Since my school closed, I have been on break, so I spend my days reading, watching movies, and doing workouts at home. I will be starting my online courses with my business school on Friday. Even though I know that the quarantine is necessary to stop the spread of the virus, I am a bit frustrated because I and other students couldn’t finish important projects.” 

I hope that you enjoyed these news stories from these five different people from France on how they are experiencing the covid-19 quarantine,  and that you’ve learned a bit from their stories.