At the very least, we can say that the week has not gone the way I thought it would. After a very full workday on Monday, we came back together for the final stretch before Winter break. However, it turns out that we were not invincible, as I had almost started to hope. The virus found a way to sneak in amongst us. For the moment, it seems to be contained, confined. It did not do too much damage. The most important thing, of course, is that the child involved and their family are ok. I have been in touch with them, and that is indeed the case. As for the rest, it’s logistics: five teachers are working from home—it has to be said that we were a bit unlucky [with how many teachers had seen the cohort in question during those two days and thus had to quarantine]! (This is not automatic but rather a case-by-case decision.) One cohort is online, and we’ve had to do some internal shuffling to replace the staff members who are out and to ensure that the students can continue to learn in the best conditions.
We can draw three conclusions from this. First, since things have mostly calmed down, I believe it is important to once again congratulate all involved. The relentless effort of everyone has allowed us to lead a quasi-normal life. Three months of being 100% onsite for nearly everyone—that is a huge success in and of itself! During such a complicated time when our loved ones have gone through lockdowns or friends haven’t been able to put their children in school, it is impressive. Yet, we cannot and will not throw in the towel. Despite the effect of this positive case, today, our cohort system allows nearly everyone to keep coming to school to learn and to teach.
We Have to be Agile
The second conclusion we can draw is that we are never truly ready. Even after hours of meetings and well-thought-out plans, the announcement of a positive test on Wednesday still rattled us. It rattled us because, beyond the protocols, we are talking about, first and foremost, a sick child. And suddenly, the virus takes on a very different character: that of a rather abstract enemy that we have to fight. It becomes something that, in real terms, is attacking one of our own. It is within this very unique context that we have to communicate with all of you. We have to show that we are being transparent in order to reassure you. We have to obtain the right information from the Department of Health. And we have to organize last-minute schedule changes. The list goes on. While I am thinking of it, I would like to thank the whole team for answering the call, as well as Philippe, Laurence and Christophe, who, you may have guessed, were there with us throughout the day.
We Have to Remain Vigilant
The third and final conclusion is that we must, from this moment forward, be even more careful as we await a vaccine so we can be finished with this virus. If you have a sick child at home, above all, let’s not send their brother or sister to school. If there is any doubt, let’s keep our children at home and get them tested. At pickup time, let’s avoid picking up multiple children who are not in the same cohort and who do not live together. Let’s avoid sleepovers and any activities that can put children in contact for too long, especially if they’re not around each other at school. This is the price we have to pay to continue to fight the good fight. We have known all of this for months, and I am certainly not trying to blame anyone or teach any lessons. But the coming weeks promise to be very complicated for the whole country. In these conditions, being the exception is going to be difficult anyway. So, let’s give ourselves the best possible chance of succeeding together.