“We are very satisfied with the end of the closure of classes from the first positive case. It greatly complicated the daily life of families! “. Marie-Françoise Le Hénanf, president of the Federation of Parents’ Councils (FCPE) of Finistère, applauds with both hands the change of rule announced this Thursday noon by the Minister of National Education for nursery and primary schools.
“From next week, when a student tests positive, all the students in the class will be tested in turn and only the classmates who test positive will stay at home,” said Jean-Michel Blanquer, recalling that 8,500 schools were closed Wednesday, against 4,100 on November 19.
– Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports (@education_gouv) November 25, 2021
Marie-Françoise Le Hénanf considers that the collateral damage caused by class closures is too great to multiply: “Since the start of the pandemic, each month, we have received 25 to 40 families at the departmental headquarters in Brest, or in our offices in Quimper. We see a lot of children in psychological suffering ”.
Currently, many parents also call the FCPE because they wonder about the various activities organized for Christmas: sale of trees or chocolates, Christmas snack… Can they take place and in what form? “We advise them to plan them outside, if possible, in a courtyard,” replied the President of the FCPE from Finistère.
As soon as the thermometer breaks, we change the rules
Teachers doubtful about the implementation
On the teachers’ side, on the other hand, Blanquer’s announcements provoke significantly less enthusiasm and more skepticism. “As soon as the thermometer breaks, we change the rules,” said Nathalie Rospart, a teacher from SNUipp-FSU from Finistère. “We are astonished at this alleviation of the protocol at a time when the epidemic explodes”, abounds Sabrina Manuel, kindergarten teacher in Ploudalmézeau and departmental secretary of the same union. “We have the impression that this fifth wave passes through the children,” she continues. She therefore fears that this decision will amplify the phenomenon.
It is above all the practical implementation of this new strategy that leaves teachers skeptical. “What worries us a lot is the ability to really test all the children in the class as soon as there is a positive case,” confirms Sabrina Manuel. “We spoke with colleagues from the test departments where the experiment was carried out … And the feedback we had was that the laboratories were not able to follow”.
Another avenue mentioned by Jean-Michel Blanquer: that parents themselves accompany their children to the pharmacy or laboratory for screening… But in this case, Nathalie Rospart points to another problem: “If they are tested in town , the return to class is done with a simple certificate on the honor of the parents, in order to preserve medical confidentiality. “
“An opportunistic decision”
Another organization contacted, but the same reservations expressed: Sud Éducation. “It’s DIY,” says Laurent Le Gac, in the Côtes-d’Armor. “It’s an opportunistic decision, without even measuring the effect of systematic class closures. We have the impression of a continual coming and going ”.
His union, which denounces a “denial of reality” of the minister, has long advocated another measure, namely that “the class size be drastically reduced, in order to better respect distancing and barrier gestures”.
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