students studying in overheated “thermal sieves”

The high temperatures recorded in recent weeks are straining school children in Marseille. More than 30 ° C in class and often no shade for shelter on the playground.

In Marseille, some students are awaiting the start of the holiday on July 7 with more impatience than elsewhere. In places, the thermometer shows more than 30 ° C in the classrooms.

In a kindergarten in the 4th arrondissement, the teacher noted 34 ° C in class. An unbearable oven. At the toddler dormitory facing south, only curtains protect from the sun.

The class, in a school with a metal structure, is experiencing “insulation problems around the windows and on the walls”, according to the latest school council report. The situation is just as difficult during the winter months. “It’s so cold that we even brought an extra heater”, says the teacher.

In this school in the popular district of Chutes-Lavie, the former municipality “by mistake” sawed the only tree in the yard. “We have no shade at all. Apart from spraying the children with water when it is very hot, we have no solution”, testifies anonymously to the Director subject to reservations. She asked for fitting shade cloths. An inquiry that has been unanswered for several months.

Like this establishment in the 4th arrondissement, a third of Marseille’s schools are “real thermal sights” recognizing the town hall in its place. Left-wing municipality Benoît Payan, elected in July 2020, inherited more than 20 years of neglect from the former right-wing majority, which had left public schools.

In the school where the children of Cécile Baron, a member of the collective of Marseille schools, are educated, are parents of students “ended up buying them themselves, the canvases”. “The children were so ill in the yard that there was vomiting”, she explains.

Another representative of parents of students, Séverine Gil, confirms this “children who fell on the very hot asphalt and were seriously burned”. She cares especially for the little ones, “who do not know how to deal with the heat, for example, drink regularly”.

He stays “impossible to continue learning in certain classes”, adds the mother. Consequence: retraining earlier this year.

“Every year in Marseille, our elected representatives discover that in summer it is hot and in winter it is cold. But despite this, there is still no air conditioning or fan in the schools. The children no longer go to school. ‘School that exists territorial discrimination!’, condemns Akim Mimoun, bfounder of the Fédération de la Mixité de France.

“The school renovation plan is really good, for example with projects to drain the soil, but it is about too few establishments and for too long”, regrets Mrs. Gil and asks “emergency solutions”.

The left-wing municipality described its 400 million euro state-funded school renovation project as “historic”.

But unions and parents of students are asking for “emergency work” at schools not affected by the plan.

Deputy Mayor in charge of schools, Pierre-Marie Ganozzi, himself teacher, assured “equipment with fans and garden hoses” the crèches and schools that are most in difficulty. “Our priority is the classes in algecos without air conditioning, where the temperature is insane”.

At the start of the school year, the elected representative promises a vote in the municipal council to build courtyards, «not against the rain, but against the sun, with retractable tarpaulin systems for schools that do not have trees “.

Faced with increasingly early and burning summers, the principal of the Chutes-Lavie school, for her part, believes that it would probably also be necessary “think of the school calendar”. The official date for the summer holidays is July 7th.

As if to prove that this teacher is right, since 17 June, primary and secondary school students have been allowed to stay at home in the 12 departments that Météo France has put on red heatwave preparedness.

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