French teachers striking for Covid-safe schools

Nick Jones reports: French teachers and educators walked out in disgust at the relaxation of Covid measures in schools from the 6th January that put staff and pupils at risk. The strike was solid with 75% of primary teachers taking action and around 40% of secondary teachers across the regions of France.

Teachers have called on the French Education Minister, Jean Michel Blanquer, to resign. There’s a lack of access to Covid tests, a lack of air purification machines, and no FFP2 masks available1. Instead of investing in education, the Government’s Ministry for Education budget was cut by 600 million euros in 2020 and 75 million euros in 2021. They reduced teaching posts by 7900.

The French Prime Minister claimed he will get surgical masks, but these are not as effective against the Covid SARS transmission, and are still not available to all.

A recent German study found tight fitting FFP2 masks to be 75% more effective and has recommended them for schools2.

Many teachers and teaching assistants have had enough of being unable to socially distance and are paying for surgical or FFP2 masks themselves.

Twelve teacher unions have united in response to the Government’s relaxation of Covid measures in schools.

One of the larger teacher unions, the SNUipp-FSU (National Union of School Teachers), issued the call for a strike last week following new Covid measures for schools, pushing their members to breaking point.

The union stated that the current situation cannot go on and call on staff to walk out on the 13th January.

They are demanding that previous Covid rules be reintroduced.

  • One positive case – close the class and the child isolate with family and support.
  • Weekly swab tests for school students
  • PPE – surgical masks and FFP2
  • Co2 monitors on all school premises
  • Reintroduction of Covid self-testing for staff
  • Immediate recruitment of additional staff
  • Additional funding as soon as possible for schools to budget

Teachers are right to strike – their actions will make schools safer and help prevent further outbreaks.

The education sector needs to invest at home and abroad to ensure that we limit infections spreading. This means investing in air ventilation and purification systems and providing FFP2 masks free of charge to schools and workplaces.


1 comment

One response to “French teachers striking for Covid-safe schools”

  1. Anthony Baldwin says:

    No mention of the Fac that the teachers are solidly being supported by the Parents’s Union.
    Now that will be a surprise for many that there is a Union for Parents of children in the French Education system which ,of course is 95% tate controlled: no space for Bliarite moves to adopting privatisation by the back door.

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