Schools: new and softer health protocol, no more distancing in kindergarten

Published by Julie M. · Published on 18 June 2020 at 10h14
Following Jean-Michel Blanquer's request to make the health protocol softer in schools so that they can welcome students by the end of the year, Emmanuel Macron announced that from June 22, 2020 "daycares, schools, junior high schools will prepare to welcome all students from June 22 mandatorily and in compliance with normal attendance rules". What are the new conditions to welcome pupils to schools?

In his televised address on Sunday June 14, 2020, French President announced that "starting from tomorrow in France, and overseas, daycares, schools, junior high schools will prepare to welcome all students from June 22 mandatorily and in compliance with normal attendance rules". A measure implying softer health protocol set up in schools, as requested by Minister of the National Education.

The main issue of making the health protocol softer is about the number of children that can be in the same classroom at the same time. As a matter of fact, today, only 15 pupils can be in the same classroom in elementary school, and only 10 in kindergarten. Teachers have to make turns and favor children in need to the detriment of others.

On Monday June 15, 2020, Jean-Michel Blanquer said a few measures will be made softer. Interviewed by Europe 1 this Monday June 15, 2020, the Minister explains "fundamental softening will apply to social distancing. We go from a lateral 4sqm system to a 1sqm system between each pupil." The definitive protocol says: "If the layout of the classrooms (surface, furniture, and so on) does absolutely not enable physical distancing of at least one meter, then the space will be reorganized to keep the biggest distance between pupils".

Same call for the canteens, if it is not possible to keep one meter distance between each pupil, it will be necessary to keep distance between the different classes. "Flows and density of students are organized respecting at least one-meter-distance between group of pupils in the same classroom in kindergartens. As for pupils in elementary schools and junior high schools, when keeping one meter distance between pupils is impossible, pupils from the same class shall eat together and keep at least one-meter-distance with other groups".

As for kindergartens, the protocol says that distancing rules between pupils from the same class may be dropped out, whether in a closed space or outdoors: "At kindergarten, between pupils from the same class, or the same group, no distanciation rule is to be implemnted in closed spaces (classroom, corridors, canteens and so on) or outdoors. Yet, physical distancing must be kept with pupils from different groups".

Another issue, facemasks for teachers are no longer compulsory given they keep at least one-meter-distance with each student. Masks are yet still recommended outside the class. The protocol also says that "When facemasks are not used, they can be hung on an isolated hook, or fold without outside/inside contacts (do not roll it) and put in an individual pouch".

Last but not least, as for sharing items or using instructive tools to handle, the new health protocol says "access to outdoor games, benches, collective areas is allowed if daily cleaning is performed (or after not using it for at least 12 hours). Sharing items in the same classroom or group (balls, toys, books, games, dailies, reusable leaflets, pens, et.) is allowed when minimal daily disinfection is performed (or items are isolated 24 hours before use)."

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