Multiple tests, remote parent-teacher meetings … Jean-Michel Blanquer unveils new measures against Covid-19 for the start of the school year

No major upheavals but a few adjustments. The Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, reveals in The Parisian the new outlines of the health protocol which will apply from Monday January 3 in schools.

The Minister of Education intends first of all to strengthen “contact-tracing” among the pupils. When a child is found to be positive, all other students in his class must now perform a PCR or antigen test and can only return to school upon presentation of a negative result. What’s more, “when the family does the first test, they will receive two free self-tests at the pharmacy, so that the pupils can test themselves again at home on D +2 and D +4 “, explains the Minister of Education. Parents will have to “certify in writing that the tests have been carried out correctly and that they are negative”, he specifies.

“These tests several days apart make sure that a student who tested negative on the first day does not become positive later on.”, explains Jean-Michel Blanquer. “The objective is to keep the school open in health conditions that are as secure as possible”, he adds, assuring the Parisian that pharmacies have enough stocks since “Massive orders have been placed in connection with the Ministry of Health”. The Minister sums up his strategy as follows: “test more to avoid closing the classes”.

The government’s slogan remains focused on vaccination, in particular that of 5-11 year olds, which began on December 15 for children at risk. “As of this Monday, messages are going out to school heads and teachers on vaccination methods”, explains Jean-Michel Blanquer. Corn “there will be no barnum in schools as was the case for middle and high schools at the start of the September school year”.

The Minister of Education also recalls that only “About 20%” primary schools are equipped with CO2 sensors. “It is more than in middle and high schools but it remains totally insufficient”, he regrets. The purchase of these sensors is the responsibility of local authorities. “I appeal once again to the mayors for an increase in power in this area”, insists Jean-Michel Blanquer.

On the teachers’ side, the protocol will be the same as that of the students. “Vaccinated adults will apply the same iterative testing protocol” and “there will therefore be no isolation of people whose tests are negative”, specifies the minister.

To compensate for the absences of teachers who contract Covid-19, Jean-Michel Blanquer also announces that all other causes of absence than illness, such as continuing education, will be suspended. Contractual and temporary staff will also be recruited.

In addition, cafes in the teachers’ room must now be consumed while sitting, “consequence of general doctrine” and interactions should be kept to a minimum. Thus, parent-teacher meetings will have to be held at a distance.

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