Covid-19: school facing the challenge of screening

“The priority remains and will remain to preserve the education of our children” : the commitment made by the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, Monday evening December 6, at the end of a press conference allowing him to decline the government’s response to the fifth wave of Covid-19, aroused mixed reactions within the educational community.

With, on the one hand, parents of students rather satisfied that schools remain open and that school holidays are not anticipated – a track dismissed, Monday morning, in defense council. And on the other, teachers forced to implement yet another change in protocol in the first stage. And even, in quick succession, two changes: while since that same Monday, primary school classes no longer close to the first declared Covid-19 case, to push for the systematic screening of schoolchildren (and the eviction of only positive cases ), they will switch, as of Wednesday, December 9, from 2e to 3e level of a health protocol thought out on four levels.

Concretely, the “tightening of screws” announced by the government is relative – and insufficient, according to the teachers’ unions: it is essentially limited to the obligation to wear a mask outside (in the playground) , new restrictions during sports lessons (without activities « the contact »), as well as in the canteen (in connection with the communities).

No change, on the other hand, in colleges and high schools, which feared having to switch back to “hybrid” education. But in primary education, national education pushes its strategy a little further: faced with the increase in the incidence rate among 6-10 year olds, which now exceeds 800 cases per 100,000 in a non-age group. vaccinated, she intends to keep schools – and now also classes – open.

Gone is the “one case, one closure”, which had prevailed since the start of the school year: now, as soon as a first student is detected positive, each student in the class must be tested. Then, only positive children and those who refuse the test are required to stay at home for a week. It is only in the third case that the class closes – like last year.

Read also Covid-19 at school: a new health protocol, exploding screenings and a sharply increasing incidence

“It’s always that taken”

This generalization of “reactive” screening, as scientists say, is not entirely a surprise: the first attempt was given on October 7 in ten departments, in relative discretion. Little more is known at this stage: the results of this experiment have not been made public – neither by the Ministry of Education, which was nevertheless committed to it, nor by Public Health France. Asked about this at the National Assembly on November 30, Jean-Michel Blanquer confined himself to saying that the“Experimentation proves conclusive” ; she “Meets a certain satisfaction of parents and teachers”, he added.

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Covid-19: school facing the challenge of screening