The cross : Can we really talk about resuming classes at the university from Monday January 4?
Manuel Tunon de Lara: It is a very beginning of recovery, of the order of the stammering. A few weeks ago, the universities challenged the government asking for authorization to reopen. This involves in particular preventing a continuing gap with other higher education courses, such as preparatory classes and BTS attached to high schools and which could continue to operate face-to-face. The response took the form of a circular allowing us, as of January 4, to welcome on invitation and in groups of ten maximum first-year students who are perceived as fragile and likely to drop out, students who we can welcome exclusively for support and tutoring.
For most universities, this measure will not take effect immediately because they are currently mobilized by partials, which mainly take place face-to-face. In a university like mine, that of Bordeaux, it will undoubtedly only concern a few hundred people out of more than 20,000 enrolled in the first cycle. But it is welcome because a lot of things are generally played out in this crucial period when we finish the exams at the end of the first semester and where we continue – or not – with the second. And from this point of view, the recruitment of 20,000 student jobs nationwide to play the role of tutors and support “first year” with a fragile profile is a real plus.
What are the prospects for a real recovery?
MT from L .: This same circular provides for a resumption of face-to-face lessons from January 20, with a 50% gauge, for first-year students only, if sanitary conditions allow – which is far from certain for the moment. . Suffice to say, alas, that the prospects are not very good, for the time being, for all the other students. Fortunately, many of them, especially in master’s degree, have acquired a great deal of autonomy. But we are very concerned about the effects of a second half which would remain largely confined. Remember that many students have hardly had lessons for almost a year!
In what mental state is the student population?
MT from L .: The students are doing badly. Several surveys show that they are, from a mental health point of view, more affected by the Covid crisis than the rest of the population. One of them compares in particular young people of the same age group: among them, those who are students are more prone to anxiety, anguish, dark thoughts. This audience is fragile, it has a major need for human interactions. To this is added an additional precariousness for those who, for example, have lost their job in the restaurant business. This phenomenon is quite difficult to quantify, but it manifests itself in the increasing attendance of solidarity grocery stores and other charitable schemes. And even though many aid measures have been taken by the ministry or the universities (meal cards, vouchers, provision of computer equipment, etc.), it remains worrying.