Strike at school: what is the health situation in schools?

EDUCATION – Incidence rates from Public Health France give an idea of ​​the impact of Omicron in schools. It was in high school that the Covid-19 affected the most students, with an average of two absentees per class. We take stock as National Education staff are on strike this Thursday, January 13.

As Omicron gains ground, testimonials flood in to alert on the health situation at school. So that this Thursday, 75% of primary school teachers should be on strike against yet another change in health protocol in the classrooms. An upcoming mobilization “historical”. But behind the generalized fed up, what do the figures for contamination in schools really say?

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Strike of January 13, 2022: Black Thursday at school

Two high school students out of 27 absent

Since the start of the 2020 school year, the Ministry of National Education has posted an update on the evolution of the Covid-19 epidemic in schools, colleges and high schools every Friday. This is based on all the feedback recorded by all the academies in France “on the basis of the declarations of absence, due to Covid, made by the parents”, as the ministry reminded us. This set of data, freely accessible on the government site, has not been updated since December 17, the start date of the end-of-year holidays. Since then, only an update has been made, by Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. Posted on Thursday, January 6, it nevertheless only covered the previous four days.

So, to understand the reality that teachers and professors have to face on a daily basis, it is necessary to take an interest in the data from Public Health France, via Géodes. This mapping tool from the French health agency offers in particular a classification of new cases by school level. If the data are not very recent – ​​they relate to the week of January 8 – we learn very clearly that, in all age categories, the Covid-19 will never have circulated so much. The incidence rate among young people of high school age was thus 5,260 positive cases per 100,000 adolescents on January 8. The last record dated back to October 30, 2020, when “only” 499 contaminations were recorded per 100,000 inhabitants.

Such an incidence rate therefore means that on average, out of a class of 27 students, two adolescents are infected. However, there are major differences depending on the territory. Classes in Savoie, where the incidence rate in this age group is around 8,218 cases/100,000, have an average of three absent students.

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An indicator that decreases as age decreases. The incidence rate in colleges is thus 3,686 cases per 100,000 young people, or just under one case of Covid-19 per class. Ditto for primary classes, where the incidence rate is 3,658 cases per 100,000 children under 11, or just under one child infected in a class of 23 students.

Two out of 100 classes closed

However, these figures are only averages. And there is a lack of data to know the distribution of cases by Academy and the impact of the Omicron variant on school life according to the territories. What we can know, however, is that across the territory, it is still two classes out of 100 that had to close. With 10,000 classes whose doors are currently closed out of the 527,200 in the territory, the country is approaching a record. The latest dates back to April 2, 2021. At the time, this situation prompted the Head of State to close schools throughout the country for three weeks.

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