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NY Times: More Than a Million Students Failed to Show Up for Classes Last Year 


FILE - A classroom sits empty ahead of the statewide school closures in Ohio in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, inside Milton-Union Exempted Village School District in West Milton, Ohio, March 13, 2020.

A New York Times report says as the coronavirus swept across the U.S., more than 1 million children, many of them in poor neighborhoods, failed to show up for public school classes, either online or in person. The steepest decline the report said was among kindergarten students.

The newspaper said more than 340,000 kindergarten children did not show up for instruction.

“In the country’s poorest neighborhoods, tens of thousands of 6-year-olds will begin first grade having missed out on a traditional kindergarten experience.” The Times said. Kindergarten is where many youngsters receive their first exposure to numbers and letters and where they can be screened for disabilities and learning challenges.

Analysis of the data, The Times said, shows that the pandemic has already set back “some of the most vulnerable students before they spent even one day in a classroom.”

India’s Health Ministry said Sunday that it had recorded more than 39,000 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24-hour period, while Russia reported nearly 23,000 new cases.

More than 230,000 people marched Saturday in cities across France to protest measures meant to counter the spread of the coronavirus, including vaccines for health care workers and a health pass needed for many public indoor activities.

Protesters block a highway during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Aug. 7, 2021. Thousands of people marched in Paris and other French cities during a fourth consecutive week of protests against COVID-19 entrance requirements.
Protesters block a highway during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Aug. 7, 2021. Thousands of people marched in Paris and other French cities during a fourth consecutive week of protests against COVID-19 entrance requirements.

This fourth week of protests was also the largest, and included marches in Paris, Nice, Montpellier and Lyon, where police used teargas on protesters who threw objects at police. The measures have brought together France’s hard-left anarchists and hard-right militants, according to Reuters.

Health care workers have until September 15 to get their shots or face suspension.

"I'd rather not be paid than be forced to have the vaccine," hospital psychiatrist Diane Hekking told Reuters as she protested in Paris.

The health pass shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19. One will be needed starting Monday to enter cafes and restaurants, to travel on intercity trains and access to nonemergency care at hospitals. The pass was already needed for cinemas, concert halls, sports arenas and theme parks that hold more than 50 people, according to the Associated Press.

Most people in France support the heath pass, according to recent polls.

Since President Emmanuel Macron introduced plans for the pass July 12, vaccination rates have jumped. About 54% of the population is fully vaccinated and at least 7 million have gotten their first shot.

"We're not against the vaccine. We're against having to run checks on our patrons," bar manager Laurent Zannier said Saturday in the town of Cambrai, where nearly every restaurant and cafe was closed in protest.

Bar and restaurant owners protest against France's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety restrictions in Cambrai, France, Aug. 7, 2021.
Bar and restaurant owners protest against France's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety restrictions in Cambrai, France, Aug. 7, 2021.

In the past month, France has reported nearly 469,000 cases of coronavirus and nearly 900 deaths. Since the pandemic began, it leads Europe with more than 6.3 million cases and 112,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

France isn’t the only European country to turn to health passes.

Italy's Green Pass took effect Friday. Denmark pioneered vaccine passes with little resistance. In Austria, the pass is needed to enter restaurants, theaters, hotels, sports facilities and hairdressers, the AP said.

In Poland, though, thousands marched Saturday in protest as the government debated whether to place restrictions on unvaccinated people, Reuters reported.

In the past month, Poland has reported nearly 3,300 new cases of coronavirus and 167 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported early Sunday more than 202.2 million global COVID infections. The university said over 4.4 billion vaccine doses had been administered.

Some information in this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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