PARIS, France: French teachers have begun a nationwide strike organized by teachers unions to protest against class disruptions caused by surging COVID-19 cases and constantly changing isolation rules.
They are also calling for clarifications on Covid rules and seek more support, such as supplies of face masks and increased testing.
With new daily COVID-19 infections recently numbering some 360,000 driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, France is now the epicenter of Europe's current fight against the pandemic.
"The month of January is a tough one for schools," said Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, as reported by France 2 television.
Blanquer's ministry announced 10,553 classes have been cancelled due to COVID-19, and 50,000 new cases were reported among students in "recent days," These figures are expected to worsen in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile teachers unions said discontentment is rising among French teachers and expects some 75 percent to go on strike, with half of all schools closing in France.
"The situation since the start of the January school year has created an indescribable mess and a strong feeling of abandonment and anger among school staff," the union said.