In the release, Jean-Michel Blanquer sets the tone: all children "will be welcomed on school time" in the respect of vital health regulations. And to control coronavirus health risks, the National Education Minister has required the Haut Conseil de la Santé Publique to review the health protocol as children will be back to School on September 1.
In the public release on July 7, the Haut Conseil proposes softer health regulations in order to normally welcome pupils. Based on reccomendations, the Minister of Education has presented the new official protocol for school.
In concrete terms,, how will children go back to school after the summer holidays:
Should children wear a facemask at school? The answer depends on their level and age. A decree orders facemasks in closed public places from 11 years old. For junior high schoolers and high schoolers, facemasks are mandatory indoors and "in any situation where social distancing rules may not be mantained". Yet, a referring doctor can set conditions to wear facemasks for pupils "showing pathologies".
For kindergarteners, "Facemasks are to proscribe" the protocol explains, while for pupils in elementary school, facemask is not always recommended, excluding if students are able to wear one "without misusing" it.
If a student shows symptoms, all level mixed? It's the school doctor to make the call. As for the teaching staff and other contributors, (primary school teachers, teacher's aides, teaching assistants, school life and so on), masks will be mandatory. Note that two masks a day will be given to people working within schools.
Washing hands regularly and compulsorily
The most effective barrier gesture against contamination, washing hands is mandatory to every student: "before going into the classroom, especially after breaks, before and after each meal, before going to the bathroom and after, after blowing their noses, coughing or sneezing, the night before going back home and as soon as they are home" the document says. A true war upon the virus within schools and thorough organization that headmasters will have to follow to enable access to the bathrooms without any contamination risk.
And what if there are not enought water points? "If there are not enough water points, using hand sanitizer is possible, included for the youngest if thoroughly supervised by an adult" the protocol explains too. No matter what, bathrooms will remain open to avoid any contact and rules as for washing their hands will have to be respected by the school staff.
1-meter social distance between each pupil
A topic often addressed by the Minister of the National Education, the 4sqm per person principle, that is to say one meter distance on each side. At school, physical distanciation will not be mandatory in closed places, "when distacing is not possible". Are concerned: classrooms, as well as workshops, libraries, canteens and board schools. The protocol also says that "only places [will be] organized to that they can keep pupils as far appart from each other as possible".
BEfore, children had to stay with their class to avoid mixing. This limit betwene classes and groups of students is no longer mandatory. And yet, it is recommended to avoid gatherings "as much as possible". To do so, arrivals and departures will have to be studied "to limit gatherings of parents and/or students as much as possible".
How about the canteen
Another highlight of the day, the canteen will have to follow a strict protocol to avoid contamination risk. So, services will be spread and food will not be shared under any circumstances. Same call for glasses of water and cutlery. And what if the protocol cannot be respected, headmasters will demand children to have their meal in their own classrooms, "on the watch of an adult and in the form of a tray or basket". As for social distancing, same thing as in classrooms: one meter distance to uphold and mandatory hand-washing before AND after going to the canteen.
Walking in corridors
To make sure pupils will not walk by each other and to uphold social distancing, headmasters will have to set up a one-way direction of traffic within schools, and plan several entrances for a safe access to the premises. Within classrooms, it is asked to "limit passing, for instance by setting up a direction of traffic within the class that can be given tangible form on the floor".
For the entrance and exit of children, they can be scattered to avoid gatherings in front of the doors, and "depending on the number of students per rooms and staff present". As for junior high schools, classes will be given rooms they will not leave between each class. Teachers will have to move from classroom to classroom to avoid contacts as much as possible.
And what about children showing symptoms?
Before going to school, parents are invited to check their children's temperature and in case of fever (or any other symptom), the access to the premises will be simply banned. Yet, in case symptoms appear throughout the day, the pupil will be immediately isolated and will have to wear a mask, or not, depending on the decision from the school doctor (even though it is highly recommended).
Temperature will be checked and parents will have to come and pick up their child to have them tested. If the test is positive, people who have been in contact with the pupil will have to show up and be followed up. Note that "two-week quarantine, closing classrooms, level or schools are decisions likely to be made" the document reads.