Faced with an upsurge in positive cases of Covid-19 in schools, several teacher unions are stepping up to denounce their working conditions and demand the closure of “cluster” schools. Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of Doctissimo, analyzes for Aufeminin a health situation which could, according to him, be managed differently.
In several regions of France, the health situation is deteriorating sharply in schools. In the North, in particular, where several teachers invoked their right of withdrawal on Monday March 22 in a college, but also in Île-de-France, where contamination is becoming particularly worrying.
These obviously concern the pupils, but also the teachers. A degraded situation which pushed the teachers’ union Snuipp-FSU Paris to file a “social alert” on March 25, as well as a strike notice, effective from March 29 to April 16. “In a large number of schools, the learning conditions are severely degraded and we most often see a front opening which does not guarantee either compliance with the health protocol or the continuity of learning”, describes the first degree union in a press release. He also denounces difficult working conditions and quotes school directors. “Who must manage the impossibility of respecting the sanitary protocol, the shortage of replacements and the increasingly chaotic organization. ”
School: in two weeks, the number of closed schools and classes has exploded
For Gerald Kierzek, emergency physician and site medical director Doctissimo, closing schools is not necessarily a good idea in itself. “We have a far too binary view of the situation: either close or leave open. Schools, colleges and high schools are clusters, it’s obvious, and until we secure them from the inside, infected children at school will continue to spread the virus outside. ”
To read also: “With all the pupils at the same time, it is unmanageable”: in the North, the unions want to welcome the classes in half-groups
Consider other options
The epidemic circulation within schools is undeniable. Children infect each other, and then infect their parents, who themselves develop more serious forms of the virus. For Gérald Kierzek, “We have to make the distinction between schools and colleges and high schools and provide two answers. In the elderly, who unfortunately do not sufficiently respect the barrier gestures, it is necessary to flood self-tests. They must be able to test themselves and regularly, to prevent one asymptomatic student from infecting all the others. In younger people, for whom the PCR test is nevertheless particularly traumatic, the generalization of salivary pooling is necessary. This device consists in making all the pupils spit in a tube and test all the saliva. The Americans do it, the Germans too, it must be done in France! ” Regarding the implementation of these tests, the doctor argues that it is necessary to take advantage of being able to bring all the students together in the same place to practice tests regularly.
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Very exposed to the virus, the teachers’ unions claim priority for vaccination. “Just like caregivers, it is indeed very important to protect them, because they are all the same at a high rate of exposure to the virus, by being alongside students”, confirms Gérald Kierzek.
Read also: Covid-19: Easter holidays advanced by 15 days?
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As for the weeks to come, and according to a proposal from Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region, the Easter holidays could be brought forward by two weeks. “Beware of counter-productivity”, warns the doctor, who goes even further by wondering about the effects that the last February holidays had on the current runaway of the epidemic. “Could that have played a role? What is certain is that when children are let loose in the wild, you can’t really check what they’re doing. At least at school, they’re all there, and we should do some tests on that occasion. “
A journalism student, Barbara is currently doing a work-study master’s degree and writes on parenthood for the Aufeminin Maman, Parole de Mamans and Avis de Mamans websites. She is also …