French immersion language school in limbo due to Covid travel rules

The Covid health pass – required of children from the age of 12 in France to be able to enter or visit certain places since September 30 – has been a problem for a language center specializing in French immersion trips for British schools.

Read more: French pass requirements now extend to 12-17 year olds

La Maison Claire Fontaine in Magny, Burgundy, still does not know if it will be able to reopen after 18 months of closure.

It is run by Alex and Mark Elliott, who moved to France in 2011. Ms Elliott said: “The business had grown very well, and we were about to have our best year ever when Covid-19 shut everything down.

“Usually we employ up to 20 people, but now it’s just my husband and I trying to figure out what we can and can’t do.”

September, October and November trips have been cancelled, and there is a question mark over next year, which is fully booked from February to July.

“We are having a hard time getting accurate information.

“Our problem comes from a combination of the health pass and the travel requirements, as in France over 12s should have double vaccination for many activities, while in the UK single vaccination n was only recently introduced for this age group.

“We have been told that children can travel to France with their parents without double vaccination, but despite several requests to the authorities, no one has been able to tell us what the rules are for traveling with accompanying adults on school trips. .

“We can’t risk schools showing up at port and being turned away because students aren’t double-vaccinated.”

Read more: Two post-Covid shots now possible in France for travelers to the UK

Read more: Concerns not covered: France’s health passport for teenagers is divisive

“We’ve had desperate calls from schools saying the kids feel like they’re missing out, and it’s very frustrating.

“We think our center is safe because students arrive by coach and can stay in a bubble with us.

“We do not receive any financial assistance from the French government because we do not seem to belong to any of the appropriate categories.

“Many businesses seem to be getting back to normal, but not us and we need clear information to help us determine what to do.”

La Maison Claire Fontaine can be found online here

Sylvester L. Goldfarb