Government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced on Wednesday that the obligation to wear a mask in primary school will be lifted on October 4, in the departments where the incidence threshold will be less than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Tuesday, 41 of the 101 departments appeared under this alert threshold including, in Brittany, Finistère and Morbihan. “This lifting of the mask is excellent news and I am delighted,” says Marie, a teacher in a primary school in Vannes. Wearing a mask was really overwhelming for communication and the expression of emotions. Not to mention that we spent our time telling our students to put their masks on ”. “It’s true that it was complicated to understand what the children were saying behind their masks, especially in CP and CE1”, confirms Martine Derrien, co-secretary of the teachers’ union. SNuipp-FSU from Morbihan.
Relief, too, on the side of the parents. “We can clearly see what the wearing of a mask could cause in terms of psychic damage,” notes Rodrigo Arenas, former co-president of the FCPE (Federation of parents’ councils) and currently a member of this same federation. Today, many parents tell us that they have great difficulty in having their children remove the mask, outside of school. They tell us, in fact, that their children refuse to take it away because they are now afraid of infecting others ”.
Martine Derrien displays, however, a certain reserve. “It is true that the incidence rate has fallen a lot in Morbihan, but we know that the epidemic can restart, she warns. This is why I remain a little wary and cautious, because we have to wait and see if the rate does not rise again. But if there is no return of the pandemic, it is obvious that we can only be satisfied with this lifting of the wearing of the mask ”.
For his part, Stéphane Crochet, general secretary of SE-Unsa, another teachers’ union, also pleads for “caution”. “We are not completely reassured on this measure”, he recalled, arguing that “the mask is rather well worn by young children”. “And what about the teachers? Will they also be able to remove their masks in front of their kindergarten and elementary students? He asked himself.
“It is up to parents to protect children and not the other way around”
In terms of the fight against the pandemic, Rodrigo Arenas would like “the installation of mobile toilets in schools to allow children to wash their hands when they need it”. Finally, he wants to come back to vaccination: “We can see that there is great pressure to vaccinate children, while parents use their freedom not to be vaccinated. We cannot organize compulsory vaccination of children to protect adults. This is nonsense, because it is adults who must protect children and not the other way around ”.