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Covid-19: school closures, what impact on students?

Under the pressure of the virus, Emmanuel Macron ended up announcing the closure of schools, along with an alignment of holidays, all areas combined, from April 10 to 26. Expected or feared, these measures appear, for the time being, to be very limited in time. Because, taking into account the holiday Easter Monday, schoolchildren, in primary, lose at most three and a half days of class. In secondary school, two weeks of face-to-face collapse.

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Except that the high schools were already operating with a 50% gauge… Their students therefore only see themselves deprived of one week of attendance on average. This does not prevent a rise in questions concerning the rare tests maintained for the bac (French, grand oral and philosophy).

Homework rather than video lessons

In recent weeks, the disorganization had spread to a number of establishments, unable to replace sick teachers or contact cases. In the departments already affected by the reinforced measures, the rule consisting in closing a class from the first positive case of Covid-19 had made the situation untenable, forcing students and teachers to constantly juggle face-to-face and distance learning.

From now on, it is distance education for all. At least on paper. “During the first confinement, only four to five students per class, those supported by their parents, returned their homework, testifies Marc, professor of French in a college in Ile-de-France. No leverage for the others, who knew that the work done at home would not count in the average. “

Refusing to give his lessons on video, for fear that they might be “Recorded for malicious purposes”, he leaves his students “Enough to occupy three hours” next week. “But many, leaving class this Thursday, gave the impression of being on vacation …” In primary school too, you should hardly expect real distance education. “It is likely that teachers give homework to do at home independently, rather than switch for a short week in video lessons”, anticipates Stéphane Crochet, secretary general of SE-Unsa.

“A deterioration in the well-being of children”

Limited in time, the new measures should not have a major impact on learning. But they come after a whole chaotic year and a first confinement which contributed to a drop in level in math and French, in particular at the beginning of primary. A trying year. “We note a deterioration in the well-being of children, observes Sylviane Giampino, vice-president of the High Council for Children. This is the case for physical health with growing breaks in pediatric follow-ups or the effects of under-activity on overweight. The same goes for mental health, with the appearance of depressive symptoms, anxiety, phobias, withdrawal, loss of concentration… ”

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A finding confirmed by the child psychiatrist Patrice Huerre, who coordinates 17 hospital units for children. “The child needs camaraderie, shared games, confrontation with models other than his own. Without this, he cannot think of otherness or the future. ” For the older ones, “I notice dropouts”, he continues, citing the case of a HEC student: “His efforts no longer made sense, deprived of perspective. “

More complicated family relationships

“The Covid hit us all the harder since we were already culturally undernourished”, adds psychologist Sophie Marinopoulos, who understands by this that “Families no longer know how to have a good relationship with their child. “ In the parent-child listening places that she created, Les Pâtes aueurre, she sees parents “Very poor” once alone with their child: ” They no longer know how to have time together without consuming something. Suddenly, family relationships harden and can become confrontational. “

Patrice Huerre, however, invites “Do not overdramatize the period”: “These measures, like the previous ones, especially highlight the inequalities between the children for whom, without school, everything collapses, and those who, well supervised by their families, will pass it without too many consequences. “ The conditions of this new confinement are also lighter for the children, who will be able to find their comrades outside and, thus, a little social life.


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