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French teachers strike over chaotic COVID-19 strategy for schools

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Schoolchildren, wearing protective face masks, work in a classroom at the College Jean Renoir Middle School in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France.

FRANCE: French teachers walked off the job on Thursday over what they say is the government’s failure to adopt a coherent policy for schools to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and protect pupils and staff against infection.

Teachers, parents and school administrators have struggled to deal with the pandemic and the government’s many twist and turns on COVID rules at school. New testing requirements were announced on the eve of the return from Christmas holidays and changed twice since.

“We had reached such a level of exasperation, tiredness, and anger that we didn’t have any other option but to organise a strike to send a strong message to the government,” said Elisabeth Allain-Moreno, national secretary of the SE-UNSA teachers union.

Unions have said they expect many schools to be closed for the day and large numbers of teachers – including about 75% in primary schools and 62% in high schools – to join the one-day strike.

Unions representing school directors, inspectors and other staff have also joined the strike. Schools in Paris and beyond offered a mixed picture on Thursday morning, with some entirely closed because of the strike, some partly open, others operating normally. Some were open only for children of health workers.


Saturday, January 15, 2022 – 01:00

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