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Source: Swiss Canton de Vaud – news in French

Press release

Posted on November 18, 2020

Given the low numbers of schoolchildren and students tested positively and current knowledge about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in schools and thanks to the health and monitoring measures put in place in Vaud training facilities in close collaboration with the health authorities, the Department of Training, Youth and Culture (DFJC) does not plan to use distance education. Rapid tests make it possible to avoid collective quarantines and computer tools are in place to allow absent students to continue their training. Regarding the replacement of absent teachers, management is done on a just-in-time basis while guaranteeing adequate operation thanks to a strong mobilization of staff and partners.

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Classroom education is undoubtedly the most likely to guarantee a good quality of the progression of school learning and the DFJC looks forward to the end of the year with serenity: while rigorously applying the health and monitoring measures in force, the lessons will continue. in class. Thanks to barrier gestures, in particular the wearing of masks from the age of 12 for students and at all times for teachers, school is not a place of high transmission of the coronavirus. The health authorities, the Office du Médecin cantonal (OMC) and the Vaudois Scientific Council confirm that the risk of contagion is low and that the measures in place are effective. The DFJC thanks them for their precious collaboration. Thanks to the mobilization of school nurses on behalf of the cantonal doctor, mobile rapid test teams are operational to avoid long and sometimes unnecessary quarantines that keep students away from school. This device can be triggered as soon as 3 positive cases are reported during a period of 5 consecutive days in a grade 9 or higher. It is also used to verify that the classroom is not a place of transmission of the virus. Students who test positive stay at home and the negative ones can continue to attend their training location. Thus the classes remain open and those who are in isolation can be accompanied as best as possible.

Few positive cases and a higher number of absences, but controlled, in annual comparison

In compulsory school since the start of the 2020-2021 school year, between 1.7% and 5.2% of students have missed at least one day of school compared to 0.7% to 2.3% during the same period of the past year. In post-compulsory, on November 16, 2020, there are nearly 4% absent. These absences are explained by a certain number of quarantines, by the very few positive cases (0.13% of students between 5 and 16 years old and 0.41% post-compulsory according to the cantonal doctor’s tracing database), but above all by the other usual and independent reasons of the current pandemic (illnesses, medical visits, accidents, etc.). Since the start of the August school year, only 8 compulsory school classes out of a total of more than 4,500 have had to be closed between 1 and 4 days, long enough to realize that they were not places of contagion; none have been closed to post-compulsory.

To cope with these unpredictable absences, the Department and the principals are currently deploying electronic agendas which should help teachers to support their students in an efficient and targeted manner.

Replacement of absent teachers

Absences are also noted at the level of the teaching staff. In terms of compulsory schooling, the percentages of absences fluctuate between 6 and 8%, against 3 to 6% in 2019-2020. For post-compulsory education, the absence rate was 6.7% of teachers as of November 16, 2020. The causes are various: the number of cases of teachers positive for COVID-19 is low (0.57% * for the compulsory and 1.4% * approximately for the post-compulsory), while there is a significant number of quarantines. In accordance with the policy pursued by the DFJC and the schools, continuity plans are planned for the replacement of teachers. In compulsory schools, any absent teacher is replaced from the first day, whether by another teacher from the same establishment or, failing that, by a replacement requested in another establishment, or even by a person on internship at the HEP in 3rd year. The management of replacements is carried out on a just-in-time basis while ensuring proper operation. As for gymnasiums and vocational schools, the situation is generally under control while being more difficult than normal with specific difficulties in finding replacements in certain technical branches of vocational education or in certain general branches such as German and IT. A replacement mechanism is also in place: in the event of the absence of a teacher, the replacement usually takes place within two days. Schools first seek teachers from the school concerned and then substitutes from outside the school. Then if necessary, we call on students / trainees from the HEP or those from UNIL or EPFL in specific fields.

Adapted measures and official quarantines

The health and organizational measures decided by the training places on the basis of federal and cantonal ordinances and the guidelines of the DFJC are effective and allow the last weeks of 2020 to be considered with serenity. They were submitted to the Scientific Council, which ruled out options such as wearing a mask from 6 years old or adding social distancing to wearing a mask for the youngest. The Scientific Council confirms that regular aeration is very useful, as is the importance of continuous communication of these rules. The efforts of the DFJC and training professionals in the field are constant, an FAQ (www.vd.ch/coronavirus-seignement) is available and constantly updated for teachers, students and their parents as well as infographics or the CoronaQuest video game. The Office of the Cantonal Doctor has recalled and clarified the fact that only quarantines decided by the health authorities are valid. In case of doubt, contact the hotline (0800 316 800).

The current situation is the result of decisions taken and measures applied every day by all training professionals and students. The continuous efforts of all must make it possible to keep the Vaudois compulsory and post-compulsory training sites open, including at the beginning of next year.

* figures based on the voluntary announcement of teachers, medical confidentiality does not require them to give the reason for their absence

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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