France: Back to School… Really?

From middle school teachers in Lyon, France:

Schools in France re-opened May 11, at least in the areas where the virus has spread the least (depicted in green on the map). To be more specific, only preschool, elementary school, 6th and 7th grade pupils have returned to school. Eighth grade, 9th grade and high-school pupils, as well as university students, keep going (are coping) with distance learning. Their schools remain closed, like the restaurants, cafés and bars. This shows that the only goal of the government is to have teachers take care of the youngest pupils, while the parents are sent back to work.

Parents can send their children to school on a voluntary basis – but what choice do you have when your boss is expecting you at work? Most of them have chosen to keep their children at home, which doesn’t seem overly cautious as 70 schools have already closed since the May 11 opening because of new COVID-19 cases on their premises.

Moreover, in spite of the teachers’ efforts, school with preventive measures, masks and constant hand-washing… is not very enjoyable for children.

For teachers, all of this means a double workload: we continue with online lessons for the students who stay at home, and have to plan lessons for those who come to school. This situation is extremely worrying when everyone knows that the French Secretary for Education considers that this situation could be a test for the next school year at least, and maybe the years to come.