History repeats itself over and over again. After a first peak at 4,048 classes closed on Friday, the Minister of Education announced Tuesday before the National Assembly, a new significant increase: 6,000 classes, “From primary school in particular”, currently keep the door closed, the highest new figure since the start of the school year and nearly five times higher than the census published before the All Saints holidays. “I remind you that last year, at the height of the epidemic, when we managed to keep the school open, we were still at 12,000 closed classes”, wanted to reassure Jean-Michel Blanquer. “He compares figures which are not comparable”, reframes Guislaine David, of SnuiPP-FSU, the majority union in the first degree. Because if a kindergarten or elementary class is supposed to close, for a week, as soon as a case of Covid is detected, this is no longer the case in the second degree, or at the margin, in the sixth, because the children are too young to be vaccinated.
“The numbers panic us because it is much more important than last year, continues the trade unionist. We risk meeting again as in February-March. ” A teacher from the schools of the Academy of Versailles, who sees the classes closing at high speed around him, sums up the general state of mind: “We kinda forgot all that, and it comes back like a boomerang.” The proof in this school of the Toulouse academy, where no child has contracted the Covid in a year and a half and where it has been a disaster for five days: a fifth class closure, out of the eight in the establishment, was to be decided on Wednesday evening.
Suddenness of the announcement
Same the experiment carried out in ten departments (Ariège, Côte-d’Or, Landes, Moselle, Var…) since the beginning of October and until Friday has lead in the wing. While, in these territories, classes are no longer supposed to close but only positive students should be isolated, the labs are struggling to keep up: a CP-CE1 class in the Landes had to close because “It was not possible for the laboratory to come and take the tests during the day”, relates Sophie, teacher.
Faced with this new wave, on the ground, everyone is adapting, once again. Sending work by email, distribution of photocopies in the morning at school for those in need, return of visios: Sophie tries to juggle with the heterogeneity of family situations. “Some parents find that the amount of work is not enough. Conversely, others, working from home, tell me: “That’s too much, we won’t be able to do everything.” ” With her allophone students, who are just starting to learn French, Sonia (1) uses WhatsApp in particular: “I leave them a lot of voicemail messages, they can listen to them as much as they want.”
Parents also find old reflexes. In Grenoble, David and his partner had to manage their two children aged 5 and 9 at the same time while progressing on their respective jobs in scientific research. “We share the time, but it’s not very practical”, understands this laboratory director. Tuesday, it was she who had to postpone the practical work planned with students, because he could not move the thesis jury that he chaired. During a video, his younger brother wanted “Say hi to the lady”, most “Give it to me” having a high position, David calmed his ardor. He reminds us: “It is not possible to telecommute while babysitting a 5-year-old child.”
Lydia regrets the suddenness of the announcement that her 9-year-old son’s class will be closing for the next day. This Toulon home help, on long-term sick leave since May, is also encountering difficulties: “I was able to correct my son but I am weakened, I do not have the same capacities as before to teach at home.” If parents and teachers can bite the bullet for a week, the prospect of a winter punctuated by class closures plunges them into a bitter apprehension of déjà vu.
(1) The first name has been changed.