The unions of teachers and staff of schools in the department are calling for a day of strike and demonstration on November 17 to demand a “catch-up plan for public services”.
“On the ground, it shoots”, summarizes Sabine Duran, director of a school in Pantin. Eyes made up of black kohl and drawn features, she unrolls, during a press conference at the departmental labor exchange in Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis) on Wednesday evening, all the difficulties she is facing in this return marked by the health crisis. Shortage of substitutes, no additional resources to help pupils in difficulty or lack of water points: “We have a dozen sinks for 170 students so there is a line in the morning and again, we are well off because the building is fairly new. Where I was before, in Aubervilliers, there are only eight sinks for two schools, ie around 600 students! ”
It is not easy to apply the health protocol to the letter therefore, as deplored by Karim Bacha, elementary school principal in Ile-Saint-Denis and representative of Snuipp-FSU 93: “The premises, which are often in a deplorable state in Seine-Saint-Denis, are not always clean. A teacher at my school tested positive and I had to fight with the town hall to have her room cleaned. Since the end of September, it has seriously deteriorated for everyone. “ The epidemic and “The total lack of preparation of National Education” in this return, according to him, only amplified the inequalities already existing in this territory. His union, united with others in an instersyndicale representing the different trades of National Education, calls for a strike in schools in the department on November 17.
“There, it’s worse than anything”
In this poorest department of metropolis, which has known in the spring one of the highest excess mortality linked to Covid, the pupils particularly need to be supervised. The teachers found them tired, disoriented after months without school and very stressed by the epidemic. However, the establishments lack nurses, social workers, technical agents of the department, accompanying persons for disabled children, psychologists, school doctors – often with a single doctor for all the establishments of a common – and also teachers.
“We were already sounding the alarm bells before the epidemic but this is worse than anything. Between the usual illnesses, the positive cases for Covid and the contact cases, we have a lot of positions that are not replaced ”, denounces Karim Bacha. Result: goodbye social distancing, students are divided into classes. “We are on all fronts, often with young people crowded into theaters. We’re very tired, at the end of our rope “, alert this school principal. The latter assures us: teachers reported as contact cases are encouraged not to isolate themselves, and therefore to keep their situation from colleagues and families, to avoid the death toll of staff.
“A form of amateurism”
The unions also denounce a lack of communication, not to say a great opacity, around the students tested positive. “Some colleges would have, as if by magic, no student sick with Covid, ironically points out Grégory Thuizat, departmental co-secretary of SNES-FSU 93. This French teacher recounts having recently exercised a right of withdrawal with his colleagues after discovering that a student who tested positive had been able to continue classes, casually, so that the school administration was aware. “Under the pressure, she ended up revealing it to us after a week!” The directors of establishments have clearly received the message not to let themselves be dragged into the health field in order to keep as many establishments open », he says, believing that the rectorate is more prompt to denounce absenteeism.
The rector of the academy of Créteil had indeed indicated that 3,900 students were missing when they entered the department. The figure had made the rounds of the media except that it was false: 170 schoolchildren were in fact absent. The rectorate finally pleaded a miscalculation. “It shows a big communication problem and even a form of amateurism, grégory Thuizat annoys. And, of course, that still clearly stigmatizes Seine-Saint-Denis while we are simply asking for more resources for a continuity of public service ”. But not at the cost of the health of school personnel or that of students.