SCHOOL COVID PROTOCOL. The Ministry of Education announced on August 23 that at the start of the school year, the health protocol will be on the “base”, that is, at the minimum level. Wearing a mask, tracing contacts, details of the health measures.
[Mis à jour le 23 août 2022 à 11h57] For the third year in a row, the start of the school year takes place according to a health protocol and we now know the details of the measures that will be applied to schools on September 1. Good news for children, the Ministry of Education has announced to the unions that the “base of measures” the lowest level of the protocol will be introduced, according to the Parisian this Tuesday, August 23, 2022. The choice of the protocol at the minimum level was established a few days ago by the Directorate-General of Health, adds the newspaper Ile-de-France and allows all students to re-establish personal contact with the school of the first day of class.
The basic measures of the health protocol at school only repeat the general health recommendations regarding the wearing of masks and other safety measures in schools and therefore correspond to a normal situation. The lack of restrictions or specific measures also concerns physical education and sports lessons. However, the ministry has told union representatives that for teachers who wish to be more considerate, surgical masks and self-tests will be provided to academies at least until All Saints’ Day.
Regarding the new health protocol in school, the Ministry of Education wanted to be reassuring from the summer and explained that the device is intended to be applied in “consistency with the rules that apply outside the school environment”. In addition to the “basic level” that will therefore be applied at the beginning of the school year, the protocol can respond to different alert levels and vigilance thresholds, it allows schools to adapt to the epidemic context by following a graded health framework . There is no longer a need to go through the complex rules of contact cases and notifications, which have been much questioned in the past. Please refer to the three levels of health protocol against Covid at school below.
The three levels of measurement “which can be activated depending on the context”, as Marie-Hélène Piquemal, the national vice president of Snalc, explained to AFP, will allow schools to easily monitor the evolution of the epidemic, without having to worry about adhere to specific and binding rules. What are these vigilance thresholds?
- the level 1 : It equates to moderate vigilance. In this case, the lessons are conducted face-to-face, which does not prevent the teaching teams from having to know the latest recommendations on barrier gestures by encouraging students to respect them, but also by limiting the strict minimum of large gatherings (i.e. open days or scholarships, but not gatherings of students from different classes).
- the level 2 : it corresponds to increased vigilance. Despite the lessons that will remain face-to-face, reinforcement of barrier gestures will be necessary to avoid mixing of students by level. In addition, the practical modalities in physical education and sports (EPS) are being adapted to limit a possible spread of the virus.
- the level 3 : it signals a very unfavorable evolution of the health context. It will initiate a high school welcome doctrine that can switch to hybrid education. Distance learning is then left a possibility to any city or department. At the national level, education managers are expected to strengthen restrictive measures, in particular through a restriction of physical and sporting activities.
Finally, wearing a face mask in schools is also changing. From now on we will observe “a alignment of the school with the general population”. There is no specific rule in the school environment, no specific school testing policy, nor specific contact tracing device in the school environment. specifies the Ministry of National Education.
However, the new health protocol for the start of the 2022 school year has not yet been fully refined. Local authorities and parent federations must still be consulted about this protocol from 20 July. Moreover, a final decision will not be made until the end of August, a few days before the start of the school year, so that adjustments may still be necessary. In fact, the determination of the level of the protocol meets several criteria, in particular: the qualitative (nature of the variant) and quantitative (hospital situation)” analysis, as explained by Marie-Hélène Piquemal, National Vice President of Snalc (National Union of Secondary Schools, Colleges, Schools and Higher Education), thus specifies that the provision of the protocol level “is based on the Council for Defense and National Security (CDSN), on the proposal of the health authorities and the Ministry of Education”.
The other important measure of this new version is the 10-day deadline for implementation of the transition from one level to another, allowing educational teams to adapt to different scenarios. This is a major change from the previous protocol, which remained very vague about the deadlines and room for maneuver of the teaching teams in situations of epidemic recovery. According to Sophie Vénétitay, general secretary of Snes-FSU, the first primary school union: “This gives the teams more time to adapt on the field. It will be much more effective than this year’s hasty announcements “(comments reported by La Croix). However, we do not know the precise criteria that will allow to move from one level to another; everything will depend on epidemiological indicators .
Where the previous health protocol provided for a range of measures with regard to reporting and tracing contact cases, but also wearing a face mask under certain conditions, this time everything seems simpler. Regarding the wearing of a mask, the protocol for the start of the next school year provides for “a alignment of the school with the general population”, as explained by Sophie Vénétitay, general secretary of the SNES-FSU (main trade union for secondary education ). . Wearing a mask does not therefore fall below any of the warning levels or vigilance thresholds: it can only be re-imposed on orders from the health authorities at national level. “There are no specific rules in schools, no specific school testing policy,” she explained. In addition, if students who are positive for Covid-19 must always isolate themselves (according to the applicable health rules), isolation will not be planned for contact cases, which do not even need to be tested. So no specific contact tracing in the school environment or saliva test campaigns for this back to school.
“School is no longer a world apart”. The sentence was signed by Sophie Vénétitay, the general secretary of the SNES-FSU (the main union for secondary education), who spoke on the air in mid-July about the evolution of the health protocol. Referring to “constructive exchanges” with the ministry, she was pleased that “the reality on the ground” had finally been “heard” by the government. For Guislaine David, the spokesperson for the teachers’ union SNUipp-FSU who raised the subject on France Info on July 13, this protocol is also much more concrete, especially in the sense that it is not a standard administration”. no longer have to live with all the “announcements to parents”, but also with the pressure of applying the protocol.
In fact, the ten-day period between the announcement of a protocol and the implementation date is a godsend for schools that had to comply with simple and complex rules for almost two years. Vincent Loustau, federal secretary of the Sgen-CFDT, acknowledged that this new protocol was “more pragmatic and appropriate” than the protocols imposed during the first five-year term. He told Les Echos about the difficulties of “contact tracing” and “mixing”. From now on, teachers will no longer have to follow rules other than those that will apply to the entire population… What a relief.