Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2019-2020
French schools opened on 1 September 2020.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said he wanted to keep the school start "as normal as possible," despite the rising Covid-19 rates and the anguish over the rapid spread of the virus.
At the start of the school year, the priorities are to assess the students to better support them and consolidate their learning with a particular emphasis on Maths and French. In high schools, the start of the 2020 school year will be marked by the identification of each student's specific needs and the personalized responses that can be made to them, with the aim of reducing the gaps that may have arisen during the health crisis.
An updated, stricter version of the public health protocol for schools published in June has been made available on the education ministry's website.
The protocol concerns maternelle (pre-school) écoles (primary schools), collèges (secondary schools) and lycées (high schools).
The main points are:
No limits on class-sizes: To facilitate the return for all children, the rule limiting class sizes to small groups has been scrapped. Schools are however instructed to "organise activities to limit large groupings of people", for example "limiting as much as possible" the flow of pupils and parents in the arrival and leaving rushes etc.
Masks: Only children above the age of 11 must wear a face mask. In primary schools masks are not recommended, but there will be masks available for children presenting symptoms of Covid-19 while they wait to leave the school according to the plan. Pupils in secondary schools and high schools must wear masks, both inside the premises and outdoors on the playground, except when eating, exercising, or engaging in other activities that are incompatible with wearing a mask. Teachers will have to wear masks at all times.
Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2020-2021
Initially, all schools in France were closed for all students except the children of health workers. The ministry hosts different websites, with guidelines, and resources to teach various subjects.
Virtual learning environments were used for lessons and communication with pupils, teachers, and parents.
Some lessons and other educational content were broadcasted in the media.
As of 11 May, nursery and primary schools were open with smaller classes of 10-15 students. School attendance was not compulsory right away. Parents and guardians could keep children at home and teachers continued to provide distance lessons.