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French teachers strike over pandemic policies

Students join teachers at a march to protest government policies in Marseille, France, on Thursday. Associated Press/Photo by Daniel Cole

French teachers strike over pandemic policies

Teachers across France took to the streets Thursday to protest how the government has handled COVID-19 in schools. Unions estimate roughly 75 percent of educators participated in the walkout, but the government is reporting only about 30 percent of teachers were absent Thursday. In Paris, the mayor said nearly 200 schools had to close.

What are they protesting? A day before classes started, teachers found out that all students must take three COVID-19 tests within four days if a positive case is detected. Then, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer announced in a Monday news interview that if the first test was negative, students could return to school before taking the remaining two at home. Teachers were furious that they found out from the media rather than the government and that they were not consulted. Unions demand extra tests, better masks, and quarantine for a class when a positive case is detected. Blanquer said roughly 50,000 infections among students have been detected in “recent days” and more than 10,000 classes canceled. French Prime Minister Jean Castex and Blanquer will meet Thursday afternoon with union representatives.

Dig deeper: Read Mary Muncy’s report in The Sift about recent disagreements between unions and the Chicago school district that led to days of canceled classes.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Washington, D.C.



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