Back to school in troubled waters for parents and teachers

The Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, on Wednesday detailed the national arrangements for a “special” return to school due to Covid-19. At the local level, parents and teachers are trying to prepare for this deadline with still some gray areas. Testimony.

Back to school follows … And this one does not look like the others because of Covid-19 and the health rules that the virus induces. So one week from the deadline, parents and teachers prepare as best they can, in a context where uncertainties still remain at the local level. “I understand this return with questions, we had no information about the various protocols [sanitaires]neither from preschool, nor from primary school or from college, ”explains Laure, a parent of three children attending school in Hérault, contacted by France 24.

At his press conference on Wednesday, August 26, Jean-Michel Blanquer stated that “[le protocole sanitaire était] simple and clear, and[vait] not the profession in its main principles to vary “compared to what was announced in July 2020. In detail, some issues of practical cases do not seem to have been addressed yet. Laure takes the example of his child” in small section “, stating:” We do not know if we have the right to enter the class or if we have to leave them outside at the gate level on arrival at the school. “

Other parents say they are less “worried”, such as Anne-Lise, contacted by France 24, who also has three children in college in Hérault: “At the moment I am quite worried this early in the school year because we are not too far into the unknown, she says. “There will be barriers and masks, so I think everything will be in place to do the best, under the best possible conditions. All of this calms me down, so I’m not too worried. “

The mask of disagreement

However, a news item was announced by the Minister of Education on Wednesday: all teachers, from kindergarten to high school, as well as students from 6e must wear a mask from 2 September. This health rule is perceived as an obstacle by several teachers contacted by France 24.

This is the case with Joanna, a French teacher at the university: “Spending a day with classes and talking and communicating with students wearing masks is extremely unpleasant,” she believes. “In addition, it is quite restrictive when it comes to communication and eloquence.” This teacher in Aubervilliers (in the Seine-Saint-Denis) takes the example of his students who come from abroad: “For some who do not speak French at all, the movement’s lips and articulation of the words are part of our work. I do not really see how they come to be able to learn French simply in the ear, without really seeing how letters and sounds are formed. It’s really complicated to learn as machines far apart and plus the mask that really disturbs the distraction of reading the professor’s face. “

The same difficulty on the lower floor, in primary school, where contact with students is important during learning. Victoria, a teacher in Paris, explains: “In the small classes, students need attention, which is explained to them along with being shown in detail. Children also need to learn from each other – group work is fundamental in our practice – and here we will question everything. “

Perceived as an educational brake, the wearing of the mask has also been the starting point for a controversy in recent days about its free access for all audiences and school staff. The executive leader, despite urgent appeals from the objections, decided not to provide free masks to students, except for the most insecure.

A “redefinition” of the teaching profession “in a very short time”

During this preschool period in troubled waters, parents of students and teachers finally agreed on the little information obtained before the classes resumed. “It’s a comeback that’s a little uncertain this year,” Joanna said. “I have the impression that we are no further ahead than before the holidays.”

“At the same time, we learn from the parents by pressing the news about the new school year,” Victoria regrets. “Principals then end up with many inquiries when they have no answers to the parents’ questions at all.”

“One week before the start of the school year, we are not yet assured of a stable health framework,” lamented Wednesday morning Stéphane Crochet, general secretary of the teachers’ union SE-Unsa. For Laure, this climate is “quite disturbing”. She is also worried about what will happen if a person, a child or a teacher tests positive for Covid-19 at the beginning of the school year.

The only certainty in this situation is that everyone has to adapt. Start with the public authorities, who seem ready to act with the test track isolate method as soon as necessary. “There will be pollution in the school [mais] we will deal with them “, warned Jean-François Delfraissy, President of the Swedish Research Council, who has been in charge of advisory executive services since March.

In the meantime, teachers will adapt to their new environment, which is regulated by health rules. “Whether it’s at school or at a distance,” says Victoria, “there is a real redefinition of our profession in a very short time, and we do not yet have all the answers.”