Schools will gradually reopen in Luxembourg starting 4 May but they will be very different to how they were before confinement
Luxembourg public schools will start to reopen in a phased approach from 4 May after a nationwide closure on 16 March. Strict measures will be in place to avoid any risk of spreading covid-19.
At a media briefiing on Thursday afternoon, education minister Claude Meisch (DP) outlined the different approaches being considered for the reopening of schools and childcare facilities: placing economic interests first by allowing parents returning to work, or putting health first. Meisch explained that the government has adopted the latter approach, the essence of which involves splitting classes into two groups which attend classes on alternate weeks to optimise social distancing between students.
One group will come to school for a week, the other will reinforce what they have learned by studying at home. The following week, the groups are reversed. "Teachers will therefore give the same course two weeks in a row,” Meisch said. The groups will be formed taking into account the students’ requests whenever possible. The needs of families with siblings at school will also be taken into account. The aim is to avoid having 100,000 pupils going back to school at the same time, as well as better management of school transport and social distancing.
Other measures include:
The compulsory wearing of mouth protection (masks or alternative facial coverings) within the school structure, but optional in the classroom. A teacher may decide whether or not to make it mandatory in class. Mouth protection will also be mandatory on public school buses. Parents will be asked to advise their children to wear masks on the journey between home and school.
disinfectant will be made available in schools. Hand washing is recommended every hour;
students will stay in their groups to avoid any mixing;
sports classes are suspended;
canteens will also be closed, with solutions being studied to allow students access to food at lunchtimes;
special measures will be taken related to moving around in common areas such as corridors and stairways;
unnecessary gatherings will be avoided. For example, recreation breaks will be scheduled in several waves to more easily respect the 2-metre social distancing;
vulnerable staff members will not return to school. Students deemed vulnerable will also stay at home;
From 20 April, aid and assistance activities for the most fragile children and young people will resume in order to offer this target population care adapted to their needs. Professionals at the structures in question are authorised to establish direct and timely contact with the children and young people concerned, while complying with the health instructions issued by Luxembourg’s health directorate. Outpatient services from the child and family welfare sector, including the National Office for Children, will resume. Specialized psycho-pedagogical competence centres and sociotherapeutic centres will also resume their activities, insofar as the continuity of therapy, rehabilitation or diagnosis depends on them.
On 4 May, students in première (classical and general) and the final year of vocational studies will be the first to return, giving them a chance to complete their final year and obtain their diploma. To ensure social distancing, pupils in each class will be divided into two groups, and high school principals will draw up deferred timetables for each of the two groups.
The week of 11 May will be devoted to homework in class. The results of the school year will not be taken into account to the detriment of the students. If a student wishes it, an optional class assignment may be written in a maximum of three subjects during the week of 18 May. The grade of the optional paper will be taken into account when calculating the semester grade.
Exams will be limited to subject matter taught and reviewed before 13 March and will begin, as scheduled, on 25 May.
High school students (7th to 2nd classics and general, non-final year classes in vocational education) will resume on 11 May. Before the summer half-term (starting 1 June), the contents dealt with in the distance learning programme will be consolidated in the classroom. One test will be held before this holiday and another one after. To improve their average, they may choose to drop the least favourable mark.
Individual music teaching will resume on 11 May, while group lessons remain suspended.
The 4 cycles of basic education will resume on 25 May, again with classes divided in two and compressed schedules. It is also on this date that the crèches and “maison relais” or after-school clubs will be able to reopen. Measures will be taken to avoid contact between children who do not attend school.
The minister also announced that assistance will be offered to parents who have to juggle work and alternating education for their children. For this, the existing family leave option will remain a possibility.