On the night of 12 March, president Emmanuel Macron introduced the closure of faculties in France.
This was a shock for academics and fogeys – not to mention youngsters – not least as a result of simply hours earlier, Jean-Michel Blanquer, the nationwide minister for schooling, had stated on the radio that there have been no plans to shut faculties.
If we have been going to be anticipated to organise efficient residence studying, we should always have been warned days earlier, however this isn’t the way it occurred.
Faculty reopening in France
Then, in April, it was the identical story. The president abruptly introduced the reopening of faculties on 11 Could even if nationwide exams had been cancelled, which had given us the impression that faculties wouldn’t open once more till September – as is the case in Spain and Italy, the place the well being scenario is near what we’re seeing in France.
As soon as once more, we academics couldn’t perceive the logic. The federal government was going immediately towards the recommendation of the conseil scientifique (the scientific group liable for informing selections concerning the Covid-19 pandemic), who advisable resuming lessons in September. The president’s argument is that the present scenario is widening the present inequalities between youngsters.
In my view, the actual motive is that with a purpose to announce the enjoyable of lockdown measures and permit French individuals to return to work, the president needed to discover a childcare answer. We’re not fooled: faculties should reopen so that folks can return to work.
Nervousness and anger
The information that faculties have been to reopen triggered an enormous response and loads of anger amongst academics. In March, we had stated that faculties needed to shut as a result of they’re locations the place giant teams of persons are gathered collectively, making it simple for the virus to flow into. However in April, whereas the disaster remains to be ongoing, we’re reopening faculties supposedly for the great of the pupils.
We discovered it laborious to think about younger youngsters following strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines, which might deprive them of their freedom, particularly after two months of lockdown.
Equally, we have been afraid for our personal private security. Gatherings of individuals are actually allowed, however the group should not exceed 10 individuals. Bars and eating places are nonetheless not allowed to open their doorways. Alternatively, in faculties, we’re anticipated to accommodate 15 pupils within the enclosed house of a classroom.
As soon as once more, it isn’t logical and this reinforces our perception that we’ve got to reopen faculties to “take care of” the youngsters of working dad and mom, reasonably than to deal with inequality.
Ought to faculties reopen?
So, ought to we’ve got opened faculties once more on 11 Could?
I believe this date was too early as a result of the virus remains to be extensively circulating in France. Some faculties have already needed to shut only a week after opening resulting from a constructive case.
We must always have waited a number of extra weeks.
Hygiene measures have been put in place in a rush and this isn’t good as a result of there are nonetheless gaps within the provisions. The hygiene guidelines that we do have are so strict that they may maybe be traumatic for younger youngsters who’re now not allowed to play with their buddies. Their routines have been completely modified and so they have misplaced their bearings. Kids additionally should always take note of their actions, which is a supply of hysteria for them.
The precise determination?
Nevertheless, I can perceive the need of resuming faculty for major youngsters. Our pupils are at an age the place socialisation with different youngsters is a vital a part of their private growth. Kids should be round different youngsters in order that they will play, study and develop.
I additionally see the argument for kids who’re academically much less in a position. This was a giant concern for us throughout lockdown.
That being stated, I discover that amongst my pupils whose dad and mom have chosen to ship them again to high school, only a few susceptible youngsters have returned. The truth is, it’s the pupils who come from a reasonably advantaged social background and whose dad and mom work which can be again.
I used to be personally reasonably towards going again to high school, as a result of I might see that the disaster was nonetheless occurring and thought that academics could be taking loads of dangers with our well being, provided that every thing was accomplished in such a rush.
I solely resumed classes with my pupils yesterday, so I don’t but have sufficient perspective to say whether or not or not my fears have been unfounded.
Happiness at seeing pupils
Nevertheless, I am unable to conceal my pleasure at being again with my pupils, even when I solely have half of them at school. I used to be very pleased to welcome them again. I attempt to joke round with them loads to chill out and reassure them.
The times have gone fairly properly thus far, however all my pupils haven’t but returned. This week, I had 4 pupils on Monday and two Tuesday. Subsequent week there might be a bunch of seven and a bunch of eight. We’ll see the place we’re in a number of weeks.
What are the preparations in French faculties?
- In our faculty, there are 5 lessons, who will return in phases over three weeks. It began with these aged 6 and aged 10 on 11 Could, adopted by these aged 9 years on 18 Could and at last these aged 7 and eight will return on 25 Could.
- Because it was not potential to accommodate the utmost variety of 15 pupils per class every day, as a result of the lecture rooms are too small, my class has been break up into two teams. One group of seven pupils attend all day Monday and Thursday. The opposite group of eight pupils attend all day on Tuesday and Friday.
- At our faculty, round 50 per cent of households have voluntarily determined to maintain their youngsters at residence, which makes it simpler to separate the teams. This determine is comparable on the nationwide degree.
- Now we have staggered faculty hours to handle the circulation of pupils for entry and exit. Often, our pupils arrive and go away all by the identical gate. Now, we’ve got made two teams and every group arrives and leaves by two completely different gates, to stop youngsters and fogeys from crossing paths.
- As soon as they’re contained in the gates, the youngsters should line up on a inexperienced line drawn on the bottom, spaced one metre aside from one another. The instructor calls the pupils one after the other to go to the bathroom and wash their palms.
- The pupils then go to their class, all the time respecting the space of 1 metre marked on the bottom by orange traces. Academics permit pupils to enter one after the other and sit at their desk.
- Now we have on common eight desks per room, organized one metre aside – permitting 4 metres sq. round every baby. Throughout classes, pupils should stay seated and aren’t allowed to stand up.
- It is usually crucial that they’ve their tools for the day; academics can now not lend tools.
- They now not have entry to sure elements of the classroom, such because the library, and might now not go to the pc room.
- Breaktimes have been staggered to stop lessons from crossing paths within the hallways or the playground.
- Within the playground, youngsters should all the time hold a distance of 1 metre between them. It’s unimaginable for them to play collectively. To assist the youngsters, blue and orange dots have been drawn on the bottom. Additionally they should eat one meter aside throughout noon meals within the canteen.
- Total, pupils should wash their palms no less than eight instances a day: arriving in school within the morning; earlier than and after morning break, earlier than and after lunch; earlier than and after afternoon break after which within the night earlier than leaving faculty.
- Mother and father are now not allowed to enter the constructing and should stay outdoors once they decide up their youngsters. Nevertheless, we now have municipal employees at school completely, to scrub and disinfect surfaces regularly.
The author is a major faculty instructor within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes area of France