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Covid-19: should we welcome high school students in half-groups?



► What is the situation in high schools?

This back-to-school week was disturbed here and there by blockages from students who were alarmed at having to resume classes at 35 or 40 per room and sometimes at more than 1,000 students per establishment, without any real strengthening of the protocol. sanitary. This movement, limited, was accompanied by strike notices filed in particular by the Snes, the main teachers’ union.

→ READ. Covid-19: Parisian high schools disturbed by students who denounce the health protocol

It was initially a question of obtaining a time of consultation before the homage to Samuel Paty, Monday November 2. But locally, sometimes very closely, some have taken it up to make demands for the protection of the educational community against the virus. Claims often supported by parents of students.

► What is the main demand?

The arrangement most often mentioned consists of welcoming high school students in half-groups, every other week. “It would make it possible to resolve the issue of distancing, including in the canteen, at the entrance, in the corridors”, notes Bruno Bobkiewicz, national secretary of SNPDEN, union of management staff. Frédérique Rolet, secretary general of Snes, sees it as the ultimate solution to avoid a closure of high schools, already considered during the preparation of this second confinement. “This method is all the more necessary as the desire to avoid mixing is illusory in high school, since each specialty course brings together students from different classes”, she argues.

The entourage of Jean-Michel Blanquer recalls that the protocol does not prohibit resorting to it. “Institutions can submit a plan for validation by their rectorate”, we say. Except that the minister said he was publicly unfavorable to this solution. And to believe Bruno Bobkiewicz, “The high schools which, everywhere, have asked to receive half-groups by alternation have very often suffered a refusal”.

► Why such reluctance?

Welcoming high school students in half-groups assumes real educational continuity for those who, in a given week, stay at home. “Students or candidates who remained on complementary lists for teaching competitions should be hired to play the role of instructors at a distance, to provide them with educational support”, suggests Rodrigo Arenas, the president of the FCPE. “These students should be accommodated in educational third places (party rooms, media libraries, etc.), so that they do not find themselves left to fend for themselves at home”, adds Jean-Rémi Girard, president of the National Union of High Schools and Colleges (Snalc).

It could also be envisaged that half of the pupils follow the course taught in front of the other half of the class directly from their homes. “But we come up against a lack of material and questions of image rights to which teachers are very sensitive”, notes Bruno Bobkiewicz. In his eyes, the main downside is related to the holding of the bac. “If some high schools adopt this solution and others do not, it means that some of the students will have seen only half of the program. How to take this into account during the tests? “

On Wednesday 4 November, during a meeting of the follow-up committee for the reform of the lycée, the teaching organizations demanded the abolition of the common exams planned for January for first-year students, as well as the postponement to June of the specialty exams scheduled in March, or their replacement by continuous monitoring.

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