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Covid-19, school principals on the verge of nervous breakdown



It’s not easy to be a school principal during a Covid period. A recent study carried out by the SNPDEN union among its members shows that middle and high school management staff observe, in nine out of ten cases, a deterioration in their working conditions. Eight out of ten of them even evoke a loss of confidence in national education, not to mention more difficult relations with teachers and parents … Involved, in particular, the waltz of health protocols, which since March 2020, has resulted in frequent reorganizations.

→ ANALYSIS. Covid-19: at school, a health protocol deemed insufficient

If vaccination from the age of 12 tends to make their lives easier, it is today their first-degree colleagues who find themselves on the verge of a nervous breakdown, while the pandemic begins to progress again.

Since Thursday, December 9, the wearing of masks outdoors in schools and the non-mixing of classes during meals are again in effect. But it was an earlier announcement, made during the government press conference on November 25, that sowed discord.

An ambiguity in the government message

That day, Jean-Michel Blanquer changed the rules. No more class closings for a week from the first case. On the other hand, only the comrades tested negative are authorized to return in class… Except starting from three positive cases, where the class must close, then omits to specify the minister.

→ READ. Back to school: primary school, weak link in the anti-Covid strategy?

“One Sunday, I am alerted by a parent whose child is positive”, says Virginie Bécourt, president of Synadec, an organization of primary school heads in Catholic education. “I spend the afternoon calling the other families, asking them to have their children tested. On Monday morning, three students return with a negative test, then twelve more at the beginning of the afternoon… At 4 pm, there were already six positive cases among the other students. Which led us to immediately close the class ”sighs this school principal in Hauts-de-Seine.

“We put parents in a state of stress not possible”, also deplores Benoît Desforges, at the head of a Catholic school in Metz. “They drop off their children in the morning but know that, at any time, we can ask them to come and pick them up… We let them understand that schools are no longer systematically closed to allow them to work. But this series of contradictory instructions complicates their family organization. “

For teachers too, the situation is delicate, assures a head of school in Lille, François Boektaels. “One morning, 5 students are in class, then in the afternoon, we go to 12. Should we then go back to what was seen in the morning? And how can we ensure educational continuity for those who are positive and have stayed at home? he asks. At the end of the day, classes spend little time working. The teachers tend to daycare. “

According to the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer, invited Thursday, December 9 by BFMTV-RMC, there are a little more than 3,000 classes closed, against 4,578 last week and 8,890 two weeks ago.

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