French Teachers Strike Over Macron's Handling Of Pandemic
French teachers voiced anger at the way the French government is handling the pandemic in schools, denounced confusing rules, and called for more protection during a nationwide strike on Thursday, Sylvie Corbet reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: Teachers of the Lycée Marie Curie (Marseille) protesting
Exhausted by the pressures of surging COVID-19 cases, many teachers answered the call by 11 unions to protest virus-linked class disruptions and ever-changing isolation rules. France is at the epicenter of Europe’s current fight against COVID-19, with new infections topping 360,000 a day this week, driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.
Health Minister Olivier Veran announced on Twitter Thursday that he tested positive for the virus and was self-isolating in order to continue working.
The teachers’ strike puts the government of President Emmanuel Macron under additional pressure a week after opposition lawmakers delayed implementation of a key measure that mandates proof of vaccination for entry into restaurants, cultural, and sports facilities. Teachers want clarifications on rules and more protections, such as extra masks and tests to help relieve the strain.
Among those at a demonstration in Paris’ city center was English teacher and SE-UNA union member Lilia Larbi who said that people are “fed up” with the situation at school.
“The strike is not against the virus, it’s against bad communication, changing rules... and the bad handling of the sanitary crisis,” she said, adding that the government “is denying reality,” Larbi said she taught to only three children in her class on Wednesday because colleagues either tested positive for COVID-19 or were waiting for test results.
“We feel like we’re babysitting” rather than teaching, she said.