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the number of contaminations in schools multiplied by 10 in one week

The number of class closings is increasing in Normandy. A figure which should increase from next week with the new measures announced for the Minister of National Education.

Should schools in Seine-Maritime and Eure be closed? In recent days, pressure has been mounting in schools where cases of contamination are increasing, despite the launch of testing campaigns.

The Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, presented this Friday, March 26, the new rules that will apply from Monday in schools in the 19 re-defined departments. When a positive case is detected in a class, it will close. A measure which until now only concerned the cases of variants.

“This will result in more closed classes,” said the Minister of Education. The latter also raised the issue of canteens. “This is the weak link of the day, he admits. This is why we have a very strict protocol “. He specifies that they can be closed, on a “case by case” basis, especially in the departments subject to containment measures.

What situation in Seine-Martime?

The situation looks rather worrying. Every day, new schools are affected. This Friday March 26, 2021, it is still difficult to list them all. In Seine-Maritime for example, and according to union sources, contaminations are exploding.

In one week, from March 8 to 15, 2021, the cases would have multiplied among students:

  • by 10 in schools,
  • by 5 in colleges,
  • by 4 in high schools
  • by 6 for adult staff, from 7 to 41 cases.

Everywhere in the classes we see more and more absences of the pupils“, indicates Claire-Marie Feret, academic secretary SNES FSU Normandie.

72 closed classes in Normandy

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Thursday, March 25, 2021, 72 classes were closed in the region and 8 establishments were closed overnight. If the full list has not yet been published, we can cite examples such as the Maurice de Vlaminck college in Verneuil-d’Avre-et-Iton and the Fontenelles high school in Louviers, both closed since Thursday morning. These two establishments in the Eure will be closed until the Easter weekend. The reason ? The number of positive cases has multiplied by 5 in one week.

Another example in Orne, the entire primary school of Saint-Georges-des-Groseillers, a village of 3,000 inhabitants, will be closed until April 6.

With the new measures announced by the Minister of Education this Friday, March 26, the number of closed classes in the region should increase considerably from next week.

Was the testing campaign effective?

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Not really. Regarding the thousands of saliva tests which were to concern primary and nursery school students, only 18,000 were carried out in the 5 departments. The numbers are even worse for antigen testing and for unions, that’s a big part of the problem.

The rector announced in January 50,000 antigenic tests per month in the Academy, which means that today we should have been around the 150,000 tests carried out. Yesterday, the rector’s office informed us that only 7,000 tests had been performed in three months.

Claire-Marie Feret, SNES FSU Normandy academic secretary

According to the trade unionist, it may all be a matter of methods and protocols. Only civil security or the Red Cross are authorized to carry out these tests on children, provided that the parents have given their consent, which is sometimes lacking.

As for the results, again, only the parents have access to them and can choose to communicate them or not.

Bringing forward the Easter holidays, good or bad solution?

This measure is at this stage demanded by many elected Norman like Jérôme Pasco, the mayor of Conches-en-Ouche in the Eure for example.

But this measure does not seem to be unanimous among the teaching staff who see it as an aggravation of the academic difficulties accumulated by many children. A return to distance education would not always be ready.

From the start, we have wanted to do everything possible to keep the schools open. We fear reaching this stage. It would mark the failure of the implementation of sanitary measures to keep them open“, explains Claire-Marie Feret, SNES FSU Normandy academic secretary.

Closing schools, effective in fighting the circulation of Covid-19?

According to a Swiss study published in early January 2021, the closure of schools in the country last spring significantly reduced “mobility by 21.6%”, and therefore the circulation of Covid-19.

“Our analysis confirms that the closure of schools is a measure which makes it possible to reduce the speed of circulation of the virus by reducing travel,” explains Stefan Feuerriegel, professor of IT and management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) . Scientists estimate that this measure has led to a decrease in the number of coronavirus cases by about a fifth.

For his part, French Prime Minister Jean Castex has let it be known that the closure of schools would only be considered “as a last resort”.

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