Under fire from teacher unions, the Ministry of Education eased the health protocol introduced in schools since Monday evening on Thursday, January 6.
In the updated version on the Ministry’s website, after a first case of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a classroom, it is no longer mandatory for other students to follow the course of the three tests (J, D + 2 and D + 4 ) when a new case arises within a period of less than seven days. This clarification was awaited by teachers and families, who had been waiting for clarification on what to do in this situation since the beginning of the week. † †D0† does not start again the next day or the day after, a positive case is more likely to cause a cycle for a week”Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said Friday on CNews.
In addition, children who have been ill with Covid-19 less than two months ago are not required to undergo this testing course if they do not show any symptoms.
The scheme of the protocol:
Call to strike for teachers
The minister acknowledged that this protocol remains “extremely difficult” to live for families. “But what’s left to do?” †he asked, judging that closing schools was only a… “easy way out”† The start of the school year took place on Monday under threat from the Omicron variant, causing parents and teachers to fear a disrupted January.
The National Unitary Union of Primary School Teachers – affiliated with the Unitary Trade Union Federation (SNUipp-FSU) – the first union of primary school teachers, announced Friday that it is calling for a nationwide strike on Thursday, January 13, in which all educational institutions will be proposed. trade union organizations to join.
“The situation since the start of the school year in January has created an indescribable mess and a strong sense of abandonment and anger among school staff.”, the SNUipp-FSU denounced in a press release. He especially regrets the fact that “during the health meeting [jeudi]The minister [soit] once again turned a deaf ear to the demands of the unions to secure the school”†
In particular, the union calls for a revision of the protocol, whereby “the return to the protective rule”a positive case = closure of the class“Isolating Intra-Family Contact Cases and a Policy of Systematic Weekly Preventive Saliva Testing”† With regard to securing classrooms, staff “should now be equipped with surgical masks and FFP2, for those who want it, they should get self-tests and classrooms and catering areas equipped with CO sensors2 ††
The SE-UNSA also called for a strike for schools as well as for colleges and secondary schools” to make it clear to the minister that the school and its staff can no longer keep up with unworkable and changing protocols from day to day.
More than 9,000 classes closed
The number of classes closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic has risen sharply this week, the Ministry of National Education confirmed on Thursday, to 9,202 – of the 527,000 classes in total in France -, the highest level since spring 2021. In addition, according to a press release from the Ministry of Education, “to date, there are 28 closed school structures (20 schools, 6 colleges and 2 secondary schools)”† The previous notification, dated December 16, 2021, before the Christmas holidays, was 2,970 closed classes. By April 2, 2021, before schools were closed for several weeks, the number of closed classes had risen to 11,272 and had fallen to 5,110 by the end of May.
The start of the school year has therefore caused traffic jams in pharmacies, which are confronted with an influx of sick people and many school children who have been forced to be tested since Monday for every case of infection found in a class. The ministry has identified 47,453 reported cases of contamination among students (compared to 50,052 on December 16, 2021) and 5,631 reported cases among staff (compared to 2,599 on December 16). These figures were communicated at the end of a meeting that took place Thursday afternoon between the ministry and the unions.
So infections are also increasing among teachers, including: “about 8%” are currently absent because they are sick with Covid-19. This share could rise to 15%, said the Minister of Education, who assured that “the pool of substitutes makes it possible[tait] face for now »† “We are passing this milestone with children still in class, he congratulated himself. Education is sometimes humiliated, that’s true, but not everywhere. Much depends on all of us. †
55 million surgical masks
The ministry also informed the unions on Thursday that it “55 million surgical masks ordered to equip school and educational staff, with first deliveries from mid-January”† This follows the words of Prime Minister Jean Castex, who on Thursday morning on BFM-TV had mentioned the supply of masks to teachers by the end of January. On CNews, Mr. Blanquer that the Supreme Council of Health was seized to determine whether wearing FFP2 instead of surgical masks was advised. “We will be very legitimists as to what he can say [sic]† The port is difficult, so I’m waiting for his decision.”he announced.
In addition, teachers are not forced to provide face-to-face and remote leadership. “The conditions for face-to-face/distance learning will be specified taking into account the variety of situations, without imposing two forms of parallel education on teachers, but ensuring the link with absent students by reactivating all devices that are used. used to ensure pedagogical continuity”writes the ministry.
The care of children of carers, when their child’s classroom or establishment is closed, “all employees of health institutions”but also, more generally, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lab technicians, etc.
Since Monday, students have returned to their classes following the same health protocol: Level 3 (out of 4) is maintained in primary schools, as is level 2 in colleges and secondary schools, to reduce the mixing between classes and levels. On the other hand, there is no more class closure as soon as three students are infected, but only “depending on the situation” and “in the presence of, for example, a very large number of cases”the ministry said.
The other development, which Mr. Blanquer decided on, was to subject the students to three tests in five days if a comrade tested positive in class. This measure has therefore just been relaxed, although it is more of a precision of the protocol, no instructions have been given so far in new close contagions.