Schools still under pressure from Covid-19, despite Jean-Michel Blanquer’s announcements

Positive students, sick and non-replaced teachers, closed classes… A new week of stress begins for parents of students and National Education staff. The measures announced by Jean-Michel Blanquer will not be effective immediately.

A little girl raises her finger in a school in Bron, a suburb of Lyon. Illustration photo © AFP / SABINE GREPPO / HANS LUCAS

Jean-Michel Blanquer announced last week a reinforcement of 8,000 people in National Education, after a very followed strike movement, and to meet the needs of the school disorganized by the Covid-19. He also promised the distribution of five million FFP2 masks, in particular for kindergarten teachers, and two surgical masks per day for all teachers. But some teachers and school principals are skeptical, even resigned, to the implementation of these short-term measures.

Classes still closed for lack of staff this Monday

This Monday, two classes will be closed in the elementary school of Hazay in Cergy, for lack of replacements available to provide lessons for teachers sick with coronavirus. “I have to close these two classes, and ask the families to keep their children, 56 students are concerned”, laments Olivier Flipo, director of a school in the Paris suburbs and SE-UNSA delegate from Val-d’Oise.

I have just spent 15 unbearable days, working constantly, late in the evening, including sometimes at night, to inform the families who no longer expected anything from the ministry.

Teachers skeptical about the recruitment of contract workers

Among the 8,000 recruitments expected in National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer announced the hiring of “3,300 contract teachers”, who will see their contract extended to cover the entire school year. Recruitment should start this week, according to the minister.

But Emmanuel Villain, teacher at the Hazay school in Cergy does not believe it. “I don’t see how they can do it. Before the coronavirus, there were loads of replacement problems, a recruitment crisis. I can’t believe that in a week we can recruit people and put them in schools.”

Caroline (the first name has been changed), nursery school teacher in Charente-Maritime is of the same opinion. “Especially if they are contract workers, the contracts are not attractive, you have to find people, in rural areas it is very difficult to recruit.”

Impatience towards masks

The first masks “will arrive at the beginning of next week, and it will be staggered until the end of the month”, Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Franceinfo this Friday. In schools, the delivery is awaited with great impatience.

Jérémy Rousset, spokesperson for the SNUIPP-FSU union in the Loire, is a nursery school director in Saint-Etienne “No mask has made it to school yet.” he notes, disappointed with “all the promises“who have already stayed”in the state of promises“.

Jérémy Rousset also expects closed classes in the Loire department this week, for lack of teaching staff. All the measures announced by Jean-Michel Blanquer do not satisfy him, but he notes an encouraging sign:

Hearing our minister admit that he is wrong was good.

Car on a l’impression, he continues, that from the beginning, Jean-Michel Blanquer lives in a different school than ours“.