Back to class: France has succeeded in its 'school deconfinement'

Since June 22, more than 80% of schoolchildren and 75% of college students have returned to class. For Jean-Michel Blanquer, 'France is among the countries which have best succeeded in their school deconfinement'. Back to school, back to school in September... Update on the latest announcements.

[Updated June 25, 2:29 p.m.]. Since June 22, more than 80% of schoolchildren and nearly 75% of college students have returned to school , announced Jean-Michel Blanquer on June 24. ' Since May 11, we have been climbing a slope, we first had to have a strict health protocol to regain each other's trust. We proceeded step by step and we are coming to the last step with a simpler health protocol that allows us to welcome everyone to school and college. ' said the Minister of Education on France Info . He again insisted on the social and educational challenge of this resumption of classes , especially for dropout students. According to him, ' France is among the countries that have been most successful in their school deconfinement '. Otherwise, ' the vast majority of teachers, more than 90%, are back, the others may have health problems that are attested' he specified. For now, students must continue classes until July 4, before taking advantage of the summer holidays. The return of September also promises to be special, with assessments for students . ' We must have specific devices, we are currently working on it for the preparation of the start of the school year, in a week I will reveal our way of proceeding. Back to the latest announcements from the Ministry of Education.

Two Parisian schools closed following cases of Covid-19

elon an article du journal The Parisian ,  l' Lamorciere primary school , in the 12th arrondissement of Paris , closed its doors this Tuesday, June 23. A teacher would have been tested positive for Covid-19 the previous week and placed in quarantine. On the day of the resumption of classes, it is a pupil from another class who would have presented symptoms. 'This child's entire class and attached adults will be tested by the end of the week. ', said Emmanuel Grégoire, deputy mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. Pending the results, the school will therefore remain closed. This Wednesday morning, a second Parisian school closes its doors following a request from the Regional Health Agency. It is l' Saint Merri school , in the 4th arrondissement of Paris . As a precaution,' all children and staff must be placed in solitary confinement for 14 days ' precise the Parisian .

Recall that according to an Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting survey for France Info and Le Figaro, 56% of parents believe that this return to school is not a good idea only two weeks away from summer vacation.

Children, not very contagious at school

A Institut Pasteur study published on June 23 confirms the fact that children are not very contagious at school. The study was mainly carried out in the Crépy-en-Valois primary schools , in Oise, where the coronavirus began to circulate massively at the end of January. ' Three cases were identified, in three different schools, of children who were infected (before schools close, editor's note), without there being any transmission to other schoolchildren, or to teachers and staff of these schools' , precise on France Inter Professor Arnaud Fontanet, head of the epidemiology department at the Institut Pasteur who conducted the study. ' In families, we realized that when a child was infected, 60% of the parents were infected, and 40% of the brothers and sisters. As we know that these children under the age of 10 are not very contagious, we can imagine that it is rather the parents who have infected the children', he specifies. Reassuring results in this context of reopening schools, but they need to be confirmed by other similar studies in schools. The researchers nevertheless point out that middle and high school students are much more contagious. It is for this reason that the mask remains compulsory from the second.

Recall that a study of French Association of Ambulatory Pediatrics , published on June 4, already confirmed that children are less contagious that you adult them Indeed, out of 605 young people in Ile-de-France aged under 15, 1.8% (i.e. only 11 people) had a test PCR positif and 10.7% (65 children) had positive serology (to detect the presence of antibodies.

Mandatory recovery: 'the objective is 100% of schoolchildren and college students'

“The objective is 100% of schoolchildren and college students. We know that the situation is imperfect' , as in all countries affected by containment, but ' students cannot be left without school from March to September “said Jean-Michel Blanquer on France Inter this Monday morning. The Minister of Education, who had already announced that the rule was the return for everyone, is delighted with this new school deconfinement.

If the government insists on this mandatory return for all students, exceptions will be made: especially for fragile children or those whose one of the parents is considered to be vulnerable. The latter may in particular request a isolation certificate , which will then exempt them from sending their children to school. The objective is therefore to get as many students back to school as possible , but not to the detriment of their health or that of their loved ones. A medical certificate or a sworn statement may be requested, depending on the situation, by the school. Recall that by rendering the return to school 'mandatory', teachers will no longer need to teach remotely. However, students will have to work from home. What happens if parents refuse to send their children to school two weeks away from school holidays? In this case, 'We apply the normal rule, first we wave to them. Then the normal rules apply' reminded Jean-Michel Blanquer on France Inter this June 22.

Assessments, back-to-school requirements... How's the start of the school year in September going?

Back to school in September will be special following a long period of confinement, and two months of summer vacation. From September 1, recovery will remain mandatory (as since June 22) and barrier gestures must be maintained. Jean-Michel Blanquer also announced that assessments were going to be organized from the start of the school year for classes of CP, CE1, 6th and second , to enable teachers to better adapt to dropout students. 'In sixth grade, we will have a particularly robust assessment in its content, especially for French and mathematics, so as to then trigger personalized help' he said on France Inter this Monday, June 22.

Reduced health protocol at school: how?

Easing physical distancing is one of the main measures of the new health protocol . To be able to accommodate more than 15 students per class, the 4m2 rule is therefore over. Until now, schools had to have the one meter tables between each student : in front, behind and to the sides, which made it possible to create small groups. From this June 22 , tables should be only one meter apart . ' In elementary schools and colleges, the observation of a physical distance of at least one meter applies only in classrooms and all enclosed spaces, between the teacher and the students as well as between each student. when they are side by side or facing each other. Reception is provided by groups which cannot mix', specifies the new protocol.

Concretely, if most of the hygiene measures remain maintained, the health protocol brings some new features : at the kindergarten (as in the crèche), no distancing rule is imposed between pupils of the same class or of the same group (only between those of different groups). ' We know that it is not easy to enforce this physical distance at this age “says Jean-Michel Blanquer, who recalls that the government relied on the recommendations of the Scientific Council. In elementary school , one meter distance must be respected, but the objective remains to be able to accommodate all students: ' sometimes, we will have to have a little less than a meter' said the Minister of Education on Public Senate. To college, 'the distance of one meter must be respected , and when this is not possible, Wearing a mask is then compulsory. “, he adds. teachers are no longer required to wear a mask in class when they are located sufficiently far from the pupils. Handwashing also does not require physical distancing for students in the same class. Finally, the health protocol encourages schools to give meals in the canteen (and no longer in the classroom).

From June 22, the tables will no longer be one meter apart at the front and back, but only on the sides

Back to school: what about high school students?

All high schools were able to reopen on June 22 since France (except in Guyana and Mayotte) goes into the green zone. The Minister of Education recalled that 'vocational high schools had already reopened'. For general high schools, they can open again with 'a lot of leeway for principals'. Thus, 'students can be welcomed (…) have lessons in small groups', he added. ' The principle was still that entire levels could go in with personalized interviews for everyone (...) which must happen systematically' explains Jean-Michel Blanquer on France Inter. Remember that this year, the baccalaureate and patent exams as well as the French oral will take the form of continuous assessment. High school students will still have to take classes until July 4 if they want to graduate.

Why has going back to school become a priority?

For Jean-Michel Blanquer, a more massive resumption of classes is a priority for children who need to regain social interaction with their classmates. But also to allow parents and businesses to get back to business. The president of the Scientific Committee had also recommended simplifying the health rules at school, in order to be able to accommodate more students. . Pediatricians are also unanimous: All children must return to school or community today in normally sized classes and in a spirit of benevolent learning in line with that of the School of the Republic. they had reaffirmed in a new column published on June 13.

An emergency for the Defender of Rights

For the Defender of Rights, this is an emergency: ' There is an urgent need to ensure that more children are returning to school and that more children, above all, can benefit from the School cafeteria ' had insisted Jacques Toubon on France Inter this June 8. For the Defender of Rights, voluntary return to school was perhaps not the most effective in bringing back the students who need it the most. ' A sort of selection was made ', he regrets. Indeed, 'a quarter of the children you've seen come back to school today – and often one or two days a week – there aren't those who stand to benefit the most' of the current return, and of 'collective catering', which represents 'one of the levers of the right to education'.

Dropout teachers will not be penalized

According to a survey broadcast on June 9 on France 2, teachers would be around 40,000 not to have returned to their posts since May 11. ' As in every profession, you have a huge majority of the corporation which is remarkable, but there are of course people who have not been up to it' declared Jean-Michel Blanquer specifying that ' someone who does not do his job is punishable' . But the government also wants to show “flexibility” in this period of health crisis. “We are not in a logic of sanction but in a logic of dialogue on what happened during confinement” says the minister's office. Nothing will therefore be undertaken against the dropout teachers , but the latter will have to return to class on June 22. ' As the health situation is now more controlled, teachers who will not justify an absence (because sick or at risk) will enter the common law process. Being anxious or not wanting to come back will not be acceptable situations '

See the latest news about the Coronavirus epidemic in France :

#MerciLesProfs: a hashtag to salute the work of teachers

While some teachers have been absent during the health crisis, many have volunteered their time to support their students. This is the reason why Internet users wanted to salute their investment thanks to the Hashtag #MerciLesProfs. Many parents of students took the opportunity to thank teachers for their involvement throughout the lockdown, some even loaning computers, sending homework by post at their own expense or setting up individual classes.