(IP)- French teachers are holding one of the most significant education strikes in recent years, causing the closure of hundreds of primary schools in objection to the government’s handling of COVID-19 measures in the education sector.

Iran PressEurope: Tens of thousands of French teachers walked off the job on Thursday. They say the government's failure to adopt a coherent policy for schools to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and protect pupils and staff against infection. 

Trade unions said they expected 75% of primary teachers to walk out and 62% of secondary teachers. The education ministry gave much lower figures on Thursday morning, saying there was an average of 38.5% of teachers on strike in primary schools and just under 24% in high schools. Teachers and education support staff were expected to join a protest march through the center of Paris to the education ministry. 

Parents and children have faced lengthy and often bewildering queues outside pharmacies to be tested to keep up with the requirements for pupils in a class where there has been a positive case. Testing rules for children have changed several times since the start of January. France's prime minister, Jean Castex, finally announced this week that a series of home tests could now be used to determine whether a student can return to school.

Children over the age of six must wear masks in French schools.

Teaching unions said the government was failing children by a disorganized approach that provided inadequate protection against infection for staff and students alike and was unable to ensure replacement cover for teachers falling ill while leaving schools acting as a form of test-and-trace managers. 


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