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At the University of Tours, face-to-face exams despite the Omicron variant

Benjamin Frachet, student in 2and year of law degree in Tours (Indre-et-Loire), is said “relieved”. Being part of the generation that obtained the baccalaureate in continuous assessment, he is happy to have passed his partials “in auditorium, under real exam conditions”. A salutary return to a form of normality, “more in line with the vision that (he) has of student life”, despite the barrier gestures and the wearing of the mask which underline the presence of the epidemic.

→ READ. Covid-19: maintenance of face-to-face exams in universities

His beginnings at university were marred by stress, difficulties in projecting himself, the fear of getting a diploma on the cheap, “to finally be less competent at the end of my course than those who preceded us”. Lack of strong memoriesduring “this firstWhite year “, that he would have dreamed of being happier, weighs on his morale. He fears that the climate of uncertainty will take hold with the emergence of new variants, annihilating all his hopes of tasting the pleasures of student life, “supposed to represent good years”.

Fear of being contaminated

Contrary to him, a significant part of students would however have preferred that the exams be repeated remotely. According to a study by the Solidaires union among 1,500 students from the Tanneurs site – letters, languages, humanities

– a large majority of them (80%) expressed their fears of Covid-19 contamination during the exams of this first semester. In a press release, the union regrets that the tests were held “under conditions which (…) put students and staff at risk (…)

in poorly – or even not – ventilated lecture halls where they sometimes cannot respect safety distances, and the lack of FFP2 masks which does not ensure their protection. »

FACTS. Vaccination pass: what the definitively adopted text contains Paul Guire, a second-year LAS student (Biology Health Access Degree) had not heard of this survey, to which he would not have “probably not answered”. Face-to-face examinations remain, in his view,

“always more egalitarian than at a distance, in the sense that they make it possible to better measure everyone’s skills, that the material conditions are the same for everyone and that they limit the risk of cheating”.

Distribution of masks Fortunately, the tests, which ended on Friday January 14, did not produce any giant outbreaks of contamination. Florent Malrieu, vice-president of the university in charge of training and student life, indicates that the rate of absence due to the epidemic (infection and contact cases) did not exceed “4 to 5% of the workforce”.

However, 8% of students interviewed by Solidaires said they had taken the exams being positive for Covid. Himself infected with the virus a few days before the end of the exams, Benjamin Frachet missed the optional political science test. Like all those in the same case, he will be called to a remedial session organized within two months, according to the directives of the Ministry of Higher Education and the rectorate of Orléans-Tours. The university considered “the malaise of students that goes beyond the framework of exams”, according to Florent Malrieu. A distribution of FFP2 masks – for students with comorbidities – and surgical masks, “in significant quantity”,

is planned in the next few days to calmly approach the resumption of classes.

→ THE FACTS. Covid-19 at school: Jean-Michel Blanquer announces 5 million FFP2 masks and replacements Focused on the second semester, the university hopes to limit dropouts, “a slight increase in most sectors, in particular in the first and last year of the bachelor’s degree”, recognizes the teacher-researcher in mathematics. In Benjamin’s promotion, the usual skimming between L1 and L2 has increased in the light of the pre-Covid years:

“In the first year, we were 1,150, we are now only 550.”


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