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Covid-19: Jean-Michel Blanquer presents the start of the school year, under the seal of the health crisis

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For the second consecutive return to school during the Covid-19 period, the Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer presents on Thursday the health protocol for which he has opted, authorizing all students to be welcomed in person.

Close as few classes as possible and preserve the education of students: the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer presents, Thursday, August 26, the start of the year 2021-2022, once again upset by the Covid-19, in hoping to reconcile these two objectives.

Like the previous year, this morning press conference is eagerly awaited.

This meeting should allow Jean-Michel Blanquer to answer the questions that still loom over the return on September 2 in the classes of 12.4 million students and 866,500 teachers, at a time when the circulation of the variant Delta raises concerns for the school.

For a return to school “as normal as possible”, the ministry has opted for scenario 2 (out of four) of the health protocol, allowing all students to be received face to face.

In elementary school, a case of Covid-19 in a class leads to a closure, as was done at the end of the school year. In middle and high school, in the event of contamination in a classroom, unvaccinated students will not all be forced into distance learning.

Jean-Michel Blanquer does not, however, rule out local adaptations of the protocol. This is the case for the West Indies and in the red zones of Guyana, where the start of the school year was postponed from September 2 to 13 due to the “serious” health situation there.

Since the announcement of the back-to-school scenario on Sunday, the voices of teachers have been rising.

For Snuipp-FSU, the first primary school union, “level 2 of the protocol is worrying because it is lightened compared to that of June, when the incidence rate was lower”.

“With this protocol, it’s a safe bet that the school will be disrupted from the first weeks with a strong circulation of the Delta variant”, he worries.

Revaluation

In addition to the health component, Jean-Michel Blanquer is expected on the issue of teachers’ salaries. He must detail Thursday the new increase of 245 million euros in 2022 announced at the end of May.

According to the unions received Wednesday evening by the Minister, “bonuses ranging from 57 euros net per month for the youngest to 29 euros for mid-career” has been validated for next year.

At the end of May, the minister put forward an objective: “To arrive as quickly as possible at 2,000 euros net per month for the youngest teachers.”

This return also marks the home stretch for Jean-Michel Blanquer at the head of National Education at the end of his five-year term, after four years and three months spent in rue de Grenelle, one of the longest courses in history at this post.

After three years of drastic reforms, which alienated part of the teaching staff, the minister, reappointed a year ago with an enlarged perimeter, will once again have to manage a delicate return to school.

“The results of Minister Blanquer, according to him, will be a school in deep transformation and on the right track. According to staff, the results will be a school deeply shaken up and jobs in loss of direction where it is necessary to act quickly with top-down instructions which pile up and come up against a real different from the speeches “, regretted Stéphane Crochet, secretary general of SE-Unsa.

According to the latter, the minister, “described as coming from civil society, was from the outset a completely political minister and knowing completely how to control his speech on the school, which I describe as a speech of taking back control of the ‘school”.

“The presidential campaign will start quickly after the start of the school year and it is essential that the school is at the heart of the debates,” said Sophie Vénétitay, general secretary of Snes-FSU, the first secondary school union.

With AFP

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