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Covid-19, the school on the way to possible paralysis



Classes resume this Monday, January 3, without change of protocol. But how long can establishments operate with some semblance of normalcy? Many classes risk quickly reaching the closing threshold, set at three cases, and the absences of teachers could multiply. Before Christmas, the epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet, member of the scientific council, evaluated at a third the percentage of teachers likely to be affected by the Covid, directly or indirectly, at the end of January. And even if the isolation rules have been lightened, the situation promises to be tense.

→ EXPLANATION. Education, how to fight teacher absences?

“Given the contagiousness of the variant, there is an increased risk of absenteeism, recognized Jean-Michel Blanquer on France Inter, Tuesday, December 28. We are unlocking all the means to face it, in terms of replacement capacity, recruitment of temporary and contract workers, and mobilization of young retirees. “ But as recently pointed out by the Court of Auditors, the replacement system is already struggling to fulfill its missions in normal times …

Find a teacher on Le Bon Coin

“In the academy of Créteil, some students have not yet had any lessons since September in certain disciplines ”, laments Catherine Nave-Bekhti, secretary general of Sgen-CFDT. “For substitutes, colleagues turn to Pôle emploi, or even advertise on Le Bon Coin”, says Bertrand Van Nedervelde, president of the Synadic, an organization of heads of Catholic education establishments. And if, despite a low remuneration (€ 1,200 monthly full-time), they find a candidate, it is necessary “Sometimes two or three weeks” for the rectorate to validate the recruitment.

In the absence of reinforcements, it will be necessary, he summarizes, “To cope as best as possible, counting on the good will of each one, on replacements between colleagues for overtime, but without exhausting oneself, in order to hold out over time”.

“To overcome a crisis,we must be able to rely on the initiatives and dedication of staff, recalls the former number 2 of the ministry Alain Boissinot. However the teachers are not in good spirits. By using the word “absenteeism”, very connoted, Jean-Michel Blanquer was able to give the feeling that they were going to make them bear the responsibility for the probable paralysis to come. “

To give the system more flexibility, especially in the event of a crisis, “It would undoubtedly require an annualization of the service time and a bivalence, consisting in teaching two disciplines, resumes Alain Boissinot. But in this context of mistrust, such measures risk being perceived as aggression. “

What about canteens and daycares?

In the field, the establishments are therefore doing as best they can. At the start of the school year, all of them wrote a pedagogical continuity plan … “But it assumes as a hypothesis a complete closure or a passage in half-gauge and not to open establishments and deprived of a large part of their staff”, sighs Audrey Chanonat, national secretary of SNPDEN, union of management staff.

His college in La Rochelle only has a study hall with 80 seats. “If teachers are absent, I try to reorganize the schedules to avoid gaps. But that is not always possible… ”

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

“Educational assistants can supervise a class when it has a video course given by a teacher in the event of a contact required to isolate himself (if he does not have a complete vaccination schedule, Editor’s note) “, argues a rector. Which specifies that the training sessions planned for January will be postponed to allow teachers to concentrate on their teaching missions.

Nevertheless, he concedes, some establishments could close for lack of staff to guarantee sufficient security conditions. This concerns the administration and school life but also the employees of the local communities who provide daycare, catering, disinfection of the premises, etc.

“Exceptionally, the municipalities that have the means could seek reinforcement of agents whose job is not, suggests Delphine Labails, president of the education committee at the Assembly of Mayors of France. But this can only be done on a voluntary basis and after checking criminal records. Because the safety of children must come first. “

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