Notice of strike at college against “an illusion of health protocol”

While France is confined and teleworking privileged, schools, colleges and high schools reopen their doors for the start of the school year, this Monday, November 2. The Minister of Education Jean Michel Blanquer specified Thursday, October 29 what the new health measures would be. But only one big change appears: that of wearing a mask from the age of 6. In response, the Snes-FSU, the main college and high school teachers’ union, announced that it had filed a strike notice from November 2 to 7. Its deputy general secretary Sophie Vénétitay explains why.

Why does this new health protocol presented by the Minister of National Education make you angry?

Because it is an illusion of health protocol. The Minister of Education has said it himself: it is a reinforced protocol, “if possible”, so there is nothing compulsory. In addition to that, some measures are not applicable because they do not respond to the reality of a school. The ventilation of the rooms, for example: they must be ventilated at a certain frequency but often the windows cannot be opened because there is a security system and, when possible, it is not the best solution in winter. Other measures cannot be applied because there are not enough human resources. For example, for the cleaning of the rooms, there are no more agents to reinforce it, as provided for in the protocol.

So the safety of students and staff is not guaranteed by the Ministry of Education in your opinion?

Clearly no. And this will have consequences beyond school since the students return to their homes at night. They can therefore infect their families, especially high school students who are just as contaminating as adults. It is therefore a public health issue. If the schools remain open under these conditions, there is no guarantee that they will not close in a few weeks because there will have been too much contamination. There is therefore a lot of concern among teachers and anger also because for several months we have been insisting on the need to protect the school. There is a general feeling of not being listened to, of being abandoned, and that since the start of the school year in September.

What do you require to work in acceptable sanitary conditions?

The first thing we ask is to switch to a half-group operation to limit the number of students in class as well as the mixing in the establishments and in the canteen. In July, the ministry itself posted examples of organization in the event of active circulation of the virus, which provide for the formation of half-groups with examples of timetables. But this plan was never put in place! We are also asking for the hiring of agents to clean the rooms more effectively. The issue of ventilation must also be reviewed, by equipping classrooms with air purifiers, as in Germany for example. We have therefore filed a strike notice, which is not a clear call to strike, to alert the ministry, which must respond to these demands before next week. If he does not do so, colleagues will have the opportunity to use this notice to mobilize locally.

Cecile Bourgneuf

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