France’s teachers’ unions call to strike over handling of COVID crisis

A majority of France’s training unions are urging academics and faculty personnel to go on strike on Thursday in protest of the federal government’s altering COVID-19 coverage in colleges.

One of many largest French training unions, the SNUIPP-FSU, mentioned they anticipated 75% to go on strike and ensuing within the closures of round half of colleges.

The union known as it an “historic mobilisation”, including that it was not a strike in opposition to the virus however somewhat a mirrored image of rising anger in colleges.

Dad and mom and academics discovered final week that college students in courses the place somebody has a case of COVID-19 must be examined thrice in per week in an effort to preserve the category open.

There are presently greater than 300,000 new COVID-19 infections a day in France, the very best variety of day by day instances because the starting of the pandemic.

It’s as a result of extremely transmissible Omicron variant and has resulted in tens of hundreds of college courses being closed as a result of COVID.

Vaccination solely not too long ago opened to younger kids, with lower than 1% of these underneath the age of 11 absolutely vaccinated.

Schooling unions demand that college personnel and college students be geared up with surgical masks and respirators in addition to self-tests. They’re additionally urging the federal government to delay the Baccalaureat to June as a result of well being disaster.

The federal government mentioned on Tuesday that greater than 10,000 college courses have been closed, representing round 2% of main college courses, however that their purpose was to maintain colleges open.

Forward of the training strike, Prime Minister Jean Castex mentioned the principles can be simplified, stating that there can be free self-tests accessible in pharmacies and that three self-tests have been adequate for contacts of people that check optimistic for COVID-19 in colleges.

Schooling minister Jean-Michel Blanquer mentioned on cable tv: “it isn’t as if we have been in a traditional interval, we’re in a extreme disaster”. He mentioned that individuals should not strike in opposition to a virus.

The COVID-19 epidemic comes as France prepares for an April presidential election with a number of candidates on each the left and proper supporting academics who’re putting in opposition to the federal government.

Managing COVID-19 infections in colleges has been a problem all through the pandemic, with the World Well being Group’s European regional director stating this week that colleges have to be the final to shut.

“Conserving colleges open has essential advantages for kids’s psychological, social and academic well-being. Colleges ought to be the final locations to shut and the primary to reopen,” Hans Kluge mentioned.


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