Viral photo shows preschoolers confined to chalk squares for social-distanced playtime
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Striking photos from a French school that show students social distancing in classrooms and playing outside in separate boxes drawn in chalk went viral this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Lionel Top, a reporter in France, tweeted the photos taken at a preschool in Tourcoing on Tuesday, Today Parents confirmed. It has been liked more than 43,000 times and retweeted more than 15,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon.

Top shared that the teachers drew the squares for the students so that they could see each other while playing outside and maintaining social distancing. 

He called the situation on the playground that he shared “very strange, even disturbing” translated from French, but he said that the students did not see the situation as a “punishment.”

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The reporter said that teachers largely felt saddened for students, with one educator saying, “It hurts my heart, you can’t imagine,” translated from French.

Approximately 1.5 million preschool and elementary school students returned to schools on Tuesday in France, after they were closed for nearly two months in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Classes are capped at 10 students at preschools and 15 for older students, The Associated Press reported.

However, school attendance will not be compulsory as orders attempting to slow the spread of coronavirus across the country begin to lift. French parents and guardians will be allowed to keep their children at home. Junior high schools are expected to reopen on May 18, and a reopening date for high schools in the country has not been set, according to the AP.

There have been at least 140,734 confirmed coronavirus cases in France and 27,074 deaths during the coronavirus pandemic.