We know more about the start of the 2020 school year. After consultations, at the beginning of July, with the Ministry of Health and the High Council of Public Health, the National Education published on Wednesday a text which updates the protocol of the start of June 22 for schools, colleges and high schools. Some points are lightened, others reinforced, and details have been removed to allow more flexibility to institutions. The Ministry of Higher Education for its part published a circular on Thursday, concerning the start of the academic year. It specifies in particular the places where the wearing of the mask is obligatory within the universities, and the measures of social distancing which they are required to respect.
Social distancing and pragmatism
No big change for the rules of physical distancing: in outdoor spaces, students can continue to approach each other, but this time mingling between different classes. In enclosed spaces such as the classroom, canteen or boarding school, establishments must continue to arrange the premises to space occupants at least one meter apart. But when that is not possible, as in many full classes, “Physical distancing is no longer compulsory”. All students are therefore invited to return to class.
In return, students over eleven years old must wear the mask in any enclosed and outdoor space under two conditions that join those of municipalities. increasingly imposing the mask outdoors : when the pupils are moving and when the distance of one meter is not guaranteed, for example when they are placed face to face or side by side. In short, a lot of the time, in most rooms.
However, the text does not deal with meals, when the guests obviously cannot wear a mask. However, physical distancing is no longer mandatory. Contacted, the ministry indicates to return soon on this point.
More flexibility for the little ones
For the youngest, the mask is not recommended, or even prohibited for children in kindergarten. Children can still have access to balls, various games and common equipment, but the new text removes the mention of their daily disinfection or the isolation of objects for 24 hours.
As for teachers, they still do not have to wear a mask in class when they are at least one meter from their students. New: kindergarten staff are totally exempted during their course.
Higher education: “recommendations”
On the higher education side, a circular published Thursday requires the wearing of a mask in the library and recommends it “Strongly” in the classroom, “Even when physical distancing is respected”. Distancing is mandatory, which implies having fewer students per room … when universities expect a flood of new arrivals at the start of the school year. The gauge of the amphitheatres will have to “To be adapted”. Understand: establishments are invited to extend their hours or alternate distance and face-to-face lessons to depopulate the amphitheatres. To avoid dropping out, the Minister, Frédérique Vidal, asks to privilege “as much as possible” the face-to-face.