This second confinement is experienced with difficulty by the young people accommodated in the hostels because they are “confined to extremely restricted living spaces”, explained Olivier Duplan, director of a home at the Fondation des Apprentis d’Auteuil in Maine-et-Loire, guest of franceinfo on Friday, November 20. “What remains complicated today is the social link”, he added. For high school students, there are also problems in taking distance courses. “They need tablets or computers. But today, we have one or two computers per structure and that is largely insufficient”, regretted Olivier Duplan.
franceinfo: What are the difficulties encountered by young people in homes for this second confinement?
Olivier Duplan: The difficulty is twofold. The first is the fear of young people in relation to the disease, not so much for them but for their loved ones and for their families. And then the lack of social link. Unlike the first confinement, young people still have the right, with reinforced health barrier measures, to have links with their families when they have the right to see them. They can at least check the health of their loved ones, and that’s extremely important.
What remains complicated today is the social bond. And the bigger they are, the more complicated it becomes. Even if the school has been maintained, young people are confined to extremely restricted living spaces and cannot open up like the others. Our young people are in homes that welcome a dozen other young people. They need to be able to breathe outside, to be able to ventilate. It is a great difficulty to be confronted with the four walls of the institution and not be able to exchange, share with their friends.
Does this situation give rise to tensions?
So we have to deal with situations of violence, because groups in a community like ours are not groups that have chosen themselves. They don’t have very simple life paths. We have many young people who have been victims of domestic violence or traumatic situations. It is true that the modes of operation are not quite those of the usual adolescents. Support groups have been set up so that young people can express their anxieties, then express their tensions. It is usually done, but in a much more reinforced way during this time of confinement. It is true that there is verbal violence and aggression. And the time of the Covid comes to exacerbate these situations.
How are the distance learning courses for these young people?
Child welfare institutions face great difficulties. Now they are supported at 50% by the school. And we are not sufficiently equipped with computer tools to allow children to follow their schooling in the best conditions. In our home, the young people are all educated in traditional day schools, in high schools, with general education. They need tablets or computers to follow their studies remotely. But today, we have one or two computers per structure. And this is largely insufficient to allow 10 or 12 young people to follow their courses normally and not to be penalized even more than they are in everyday life.