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COVID-19: Students mobilized on many fronts

COVID-19: Students mobilized on many fronts
26 Apr. 2020

Des élèves de l'Ecole polytechnique en Grand Uniforme

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, students have risen up to the occasion either collectively or individually to help fight the pandemic and support the community as a whole.

Their efforts have been coordinated by the Personal Development and Military Training Department (DFHM) through the Studies Organization Office (BOE) and the Diversity and Success Center (PDR).

Over 400 students from the Cycle Ingénieur Polytechnicien and the Bachelor of Science programs are serving as tutors in the Essonne region, providing personalized tutoring on a daily basis for dozens of high schoolers whose parents are highly involved in the fight against the current pandemic.

"I signed up without hesitation for the online tutoring for students in their final year
of high school set up by the Diversity and Success Center of École Polytechnique,"
said Agathe Jouneau (X2018).

“I have already had the opportunity to support students with difficulties in the past
and I know that providing help to students who need it and seeing their progress
is always very gratifying. In addition, the current situation is rather disadvantageous
for high school students who cannot receive academic support from their families
at home and, in this context, I felt it was important to act in favor of equal

Within the framework of operation “Resilience”, nearly 50 students from the Cycle Ingénieur Polytechnicien program have returned to the units where they did their internships to lend a hand to the Paris Fire Brigade, for example, or the French Gendarmerie.

“As a student at École Polytechnique since September, I chose to spend six months at the Paris Fire Brigade (BSPP), three of which I was head of the victim rescue vehicle at Aulnay-Sous-Bois in the French department of Seine Saint Denis, located north of Paris. It is pretty intense: between 72 and 96 hours on duty per week," says Pierre Alefsen de Boisredon d'Assier (X2019).

"Most of my interventions at the end of the internship were related to COVID-19. For almost two weeks, we spent our nights rescuing people with severe breathing difficulties. Conscious of the significant reinforcement that I represented for the firefighters, I did not want to let them down during such trying times,” adds Pierre.

"For me, it was also an important time to utilize my military status, the opportunity to give back to my “Homeland” but also to the BSPP after they had done so much for me. I wanted to make myself useful and lend a hand to them. Therefore, I asked to take over duty shifts and I signed an agreement allowing me to reinforce the BSPP for three more months as needed."

Thirty-five students have stepped in to work in the intensive care departments of some twenty hospitals in the Île-de-France region to assist with monitoring their COVID-19 patient databases.

"Our action within the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital is still just as active. Deployed to help with logistics, we are now in contact with a few departments managing products that can become critical (pharmacies in particular). The work is sometimes manual (pallet preparation in logistics), sometimes more engineer-related (inventory monitoring and core testing needs)," reports Raphaël GUIGNARD (X2017).

The X-Forum and Kès student associations have also joined forces to donate €50,000 to the Fondation de France for hospitals in need.

Students were also involved in a COVID-19 Hackathon, organized by HEC Paris, Science Po, and École Polytechnique on April 10, 11 and 12 to prepare for the end of the crisis and imagine the future post-pandemic.

The DIO project (Do It Ourselves) submitted by a team led by two students of
the École Polytechnique Bachelor of Science program were awarded second place.

We met and created a fabulous team via Zoom on Friday evening. It was a great
experience to work with various profiles, some coming from Sciences Po,
HEC Paris, Mines and the world of finance,” declared Noah Sarfati (BX2021)
at the origin of the project with Elouan Gros (BX2022).

The DIO project idea is to recreate a value chain at the local level to be more
resilient in the face of crises thanks to a platform set up for the declaration
of needs, the offer of services, or even job searches.