The French teachers living in 'daily fear' as number of Covid cases in schools grows

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There has been exponential growth in the number of Covid-19 cases in French schools, both among pupils and staff, and some teaching personnel have become seriously ill as a result. Though the education minister has just announced a further toughening of the health protocols to tackle the virus in schools, some teachers fear the ministry is still “in denial” over the scale of the problem they are facing. One teaching union is now calling on members to take strike action. Ismaël Bine and Caroline Coq-Chodorge report.

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The impact of the Covid virus on staff and pupils at the Delacroix secondary school in Drancy in the north-east suburbs of Paris over the past year has been unrelenting. “Twenty pupils at the secondary school have lost relatives: fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts,” says Aline Cottereau, a modern languages teacher at the school. Now, however, the situation is getting even worse. “We've always had positive cases inside the establishment. But after the return from the winter holidays [editor's note, which ended on March 1st in the Paris region] the situation has been exponential,” she says.