students study in overheated “thermal filters”

The high temperatures recorded in recent weeks are putting a heavy burden on the schoolchildren of Marseille. More than 30°C in the classroom and often no shade to shelter in the playground.

In Marseille, some students are more impatiently waiting for the start of the holiday on 7 July than elsewhere. In some places the thermometer in the classrooms shows more than 30°C.

In a kindergarten in the 4th arrondissement, the teacher recorded 34°C in the classroom. An unbearable furnace. In the toddler dormitory, facing south, only curtains protect against the sun.

The class, in a school with a metal structure, is experiencing “insulation problems around the windows and on the walls,” according to the latest school board report. The situation is equally difficult during the winter months. “It’s so cold there that we brought our own extra heating,” says the teacher.

In this school in the popular Chutes-Lavie district, the previous municipality “accidentally” cut the only tree in the yard. “We have no shade at all. Other than spraying the children with water when it is very hot, we have no solution,” testifies anonymously the director, with reservation. She requested the installation of shade cloths. A request that went unanswered for months.

Like this establishment in the 4th arrondissement, a third of Marseille’s schools are “true thermal sieves”, the town hall recognizes on its site. The left-wing municipality of Benoît Payan, elected in July 2020, inherited more than 20 years of neglect from the previous right-wing majority, who had left public schools.

In the school, where the children of Cécile Baron, a member of the Marseille schools collective, are educated, the parents of pupils “In the end they bought them themselves, the canvases”. “The kids felt so bad in the yard that they vomited,” she explains.

Another representative of student parents, Séverine Gil, confirms that: “Children who fell on the very hot asphalt and were badly burned”. She is especially concerned about the little ones, “Those who don’t know how to control the heat, for example, drink regularly”.

He becomes “impossible to continue learning in certain classes”, adds the mother. Result: school dropout earlier in the year.

“Every year, our elected officials in Marseille discover that it is hot in summer and cold in winter. Despite this, there is still no air conditioning or fan in the schools. The children no longer go to school.” , territorial discrimination exists!’, denounces Akim Mimoun, ffounder of the Federation de la Mixité de France.

“The school renewal plan is very good, with projects to drain the soil, for example, but it involves too few facilities and in too long a time,” regrets Mrs Gil, asking “emergency solutions”

The left-wing municipality described its $400 million state-funded school renovation project as “historic”.

But student unions and parents are calling for “emergency work” in schools not affected by the plan.

The deputy mayor in charge of schools, Pierre-Marie Ganozzi, himself a teacher, assured “equip with fans and garden hoses” the crèches and schools that have the most difficulty. “Our priority of priorities are the classes in unconditioned algecos, in which the temperature is insane”.

The elected official promises a vote in the city council at the beginning of the school year to create almshouses.”not against the rain but against the sun, with extendable tarpaulin systems, for schools without trees”.

Faced with increasingly precocious and scorching summers, the director of the Chutes-Lavie school, for her part, believes that it will probably also be necessary “think of the school calendar”. The official date for the summer vacation is July 7.

As if to prove this teacher right, since June 17, primary and secondary school students have been allowed to stay at home in the 12 departments placed on heat wave alert by Météo France.

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