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did we lower the mask too soon?

In a third-grade French course at the Saint-Exupéry college, in Paris, on March 14, 2022.

All the teachers agree: being able to remove the mask in class on March 14 was experienced as a “liberation”. The symbol of a return to normal – or almost – after two years of crisis linked to Covid-19. But fifteen days after the reduction of barrier gestures, and the transition to level 1 (out of 4) of the health protocol, a concern is beginning to arise: have we not let our guard down too soon?

Read also: Covid-19: WHO considers the lifting of restrictive measures too “brutal”

Johanna Cornou, school principal in Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), is one of those who think so. “I have almost as many positive Covid cases today as in January-February”, she says. According to him, this ” rise “ is even ” faster “ that at the time when the Delta and Omicron variants crossed paths: in a fortnight, this union member at SE-UNSA counted around thirty infected students, as well as three teachers – four with her.

The Covid-19 has also made its “big comeback” in the college of La Rochelle, of which Audrey Chanonat is the principal assistant. “With fifteen cases recorded per day, we are almost at the same level as at the height of the fifth wave”, explains this head of establishment of the SNPDEN-UNSA. Elsewhere, so “beaded”as the teachers say, in primary school but also in colleges and high schools, where a large majority of students are nevertheless vaccinated, we keep a close eye on the contamination curve.

“Everyone is in contact! »

If we stick to the last weekly epidemiological bulletin sent by the Ministry of National Education, the number of closed classes – 3,080, according to figures from March 25 – remains stable. But the positive cases are progressing for the third consecutive week, to concern 81,424 students and 10,201 staff. Either the same level as just a year ago. Twelve schools are closed in seven academies, compared to four in three academies a week earlier. “These closures are the result of contamination of teachers rather than students”, we specify Rue de Grenelle, recalling having renounced the strategy of ” a case [positif], a closing “.

“In Alsace, Normandy, Brittany, Champagne, the teachers in our network are already talking about a new wave”, explique Catherine Nave-Bekhti of SGEN-CFDT

“In Brittany, in the Paris region, in the North, in Strasbourg, absences due to Covid are increasing again”, is alarmed Sophie Vénétitay of the SNES-FSU. “In Alsace, Normandy, Brittany, Champagne, the teachers in our network are already talking about a new wave, adds Catherine Nave-Bekhti, of SGEN-CFDT. We are told of school situations with seven children in the same class infected at the same time, or, in the second degree, cases of establishments with decimated school lives and 15% to 20% of hours that are lost. fly away, for lack of replacements. And since wearing a mask is no longer obligatory, everyone is in contact! »

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