Posted July 12, 2022, 8:22 PM
As the Covid epidemic rises again during the school holiday, the Ministry of National Education is giving the final touch to the health protocol for the start of the school year. During a joint meeting of the Ministry of Health, he presented it to teachers ’unions on Tuesday, and will do the same with local authority associations and parents of students before making it public at the start. next week. .
Except for the green, yellow, orange and red colors last year, which improved according to the level of the epidemic. National Education is now talking about a “base level” and a scale of 1 to 3 to adapt its measures to the epidemic. The “base level” did not prompt specific actions, but only reminded that the epidemic was still relevant and that the recommendations of the Ministry of Health should be followed, according to a union source.
Then, for levels 1, 2 and 3, the instruction will continue face-to-face. The only exceptions are high schoolers who, at level 3 of the epidemic, may move to hybrid education. But this is only a possibility – and not an obligation, unlike last year – and it could be the subject of a local decision.
Depending on the level of the epidemic, provisions aimed at limiting accumulations and mixing will apply. At level 1, for example, “large gatherings” such as “open days” or fairs should be “limited”. It remains to be seen whether parent meetings with back-to-school students will be part of it or not. This level 1, in any case, does not prevent the regrouping of students from different classes.
Only triggering level 2 should bring the limit to the mix of level students. Level 3 imposes limitations on the mix of level and class. As in previous years, the government has given no sign of moving from one stage to another. The government’s compass is hospitalization tensions, explain the various unions that meet in the ministry. The birth rate of the virus, the famous “R” – now at 1.2, according to the Ministry of Health – is no longer alpha and omega in triggering measures.
“School is no longer a world apart”
The innovation, for schools, is in aligning National Education measures with the general population, unlike the protocols adopted by National Education since 2020.
That is, whether it wears a mask or tracks Covid cases, the rules that apply to schools are the same as for the rest of the population. “The school is no longer a separate world,” said Sophie Vénétitay, general secretary of SNES-FSU (the leading secondary education union), who spoke of “strengthening exchanges” in the ministry. National Education has worked to ensure that there is a period of ten days between the announcement of a protocol and the date of its implementation. “The truth on the ground has finally been heard,” the unionist added.
At Sgen-CFDT, Vincent Loustau, federal secretary, also welcomed the “more pragmatic and practical protocol” than the older versions. This school principal remembers “the completely crazy contact tracking” that was his responsibility in the past or “the mixing, source of great tension” and misunderstanding ”when we did everything to avoid it in class and that, in the end , students line up for lunch or take the same bus to the canteen ”.
Despite the disappearance of these restrictions, vigilance is still needed. Within the High Council for Public Health, a fifth commission specially dedicated to youth and the Covid epidemic was recently created. A new ministerial meeting is scheduled for the end of August to adjust the system. Before the school year begins.