“We have the impression that we are playing with children’s health”: faced with Covid-19, parents demand the closure of schools

At the Claude-Debussy College in Aulnay-sous-Bois, in Seine-Saint-Denis, 50% of teachers are absent, because they are sick or have contact. Parents often prefer to keep their children at home for fear that the whole family will be infected.

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“Schools are what we will close last”, declared Jean Castex in front of the deputies, Tuesday March 23. A position also shared by the Ministry of National Education. But this line faces a reality: Covid-19 cases are increasing in recent weeks, among students and teachers. franceinfo visited two establishments in Seine-Saint-Denis where parents and teachers do not understand that the establishments remain open at all costs.

At Claude-Debussy college in Aulnay-sous-Bois, the situation is “catastrophic”, cowardly with an embarrassed laughter Noria, parent of a pupil on the “equality for all” list. Covid cases or contact cases, she has seen them everywhere in recent days: “As much among the students as among the staff”. Result: half of the absent teachers, only one supervisor available, the canteen closed and empty timetables. 80% of lessons are not provided for certain classes.

Despite the parents’ questions, the college remains open, deplores Noria: “We sent emails to DASEN [directeur académique des services de l’Éducation nationale] and at the department but we have no news. The parents are angry and lost. We have the impression that we are playing with the health of children and suddenly families. “

“It’s a vicious circle because our children who go to college have brothers and sisters who are in kindergarten, elementary school, so we’re afraid it will spread everywhere. Parents don’t want to take risks.”

Noria, parent of a student

to franceinfo

Two thirds of the children therefore stay at home, at the parents’ request. The situation is such that families now have only one requirement: “We are asking for closure in order to be able to disinfect everything and to be able to start again on a good basis, even if it is two weeks. We are totally helpless.”

Clément Bernard, math teacher at Blaise-Cendrars high school in Sevran, is one of these teachers absent due to Covid-19: “I am in contact with this. This week we were more than 75% of teachers absent.” Three classes are closed, as is the school life service. Some students only have one hour of lessons per day. And yet, the school is still open.

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