Faced with the resumption of the epidemic, the Chinese authorities are applying a very strict strategy with regard to Covid-19, sometimes in great confusion. The French International School in Beijing paid the price.

The Charles de Gaulle high school in Beijing (SEBASTIEN BERRIOT

Just 5:30 p.m., it’s time for the end of classes at the Lycee Charles de Gaulle. The 840 students of the French school in Beijing had an eventful start to the week. China has, in recent days, faced a resumption of the epidemic with 7,400 cases recorded in the last 24 hours. Therefore, the authorities apply the zero covid policy to the letter. This translates into massive screenings, home confinements and school closures. These measures are sometimes implemented in total confusion. The French school in Beijing paid the price, closed and then reopened a few hours later without explanation.

Monday, November 7, after an increase in Covid-19 cases in Beijing, the neighborhood committee imposed the closure of the establishment. Everyone is organizing to set up online teaching, but a few hours later, in the middle of the night, the opposite decision falls. The school can reopen again. The situation is more and more difficult to live with. “The parents are stressed, the children too. When the announcement falls on us, it’s a shock”, says Franck Pajot professor of SVT and representative of the Snes-FSU union. “Since January 2020, we have been living to the rhythm of the openings and closings of establishments”, he continues.

“A lot of people are confined, the children have confined friends, sometimes their teachers are blocked. It’s very anxiety-provoking and I think the parents are fed up.”

The Chinese population is able to work “more than 10 hours a day”, recalls the teacher. “But we don’t touch children, we don’t touch education, explains Franck Pajot. It takes over this zero Covid policy which is starting to exasperate”.

Misunderstanding among students and parents

Many students, although accustomed to restrictions since 2020, also feel trapped in the closures that can happen at any time. “We are a little disturbed by all that”, confides a high school student. “We don’t know what will happen, whether our exams will be canceled or not, worries the teenager, especially since in France and in other establishments it does not happen the same way.” “It’s not like before, at the Covid level, adds a high school student, only China still applies this policy. I don’t know what they want but it’s very disturbing for the students. .” A feeling also shared by this mother. “It’s quite difficult to understand the instructions.”

Classes have resumed, but high school students are now subject to daily Covid tests. A dozen students are currently absent from high school, locked up at home due to the confinement of their residences.