All over the world, education and health authorities are facing the same challenge: how to organize the return to school after the Covid-19 pandemic caused the closure of 60% of schools in 186 countries.
In France, less than a week before the start of the school year, the government is refining the terms of the recovery, hidden for a large part of the students. Elsewhere, many countries have already started back to school, with different protocols. Overview.
In the Netherlands, no mask or distance
Last Monday, schools in the northern provinces of the Netherlands were the first in the country to reopen after the summer holidays. Ventilation of rooms and regular hand washing are the main hygiene measures that have been taken to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But students no longer have to maintain social distance from each other. Tables are cleaned often, door handles and other objects disinfected daily.
Pupils in primary and secondary education must once again go to school five days a week. According to local media OURdistance learning is now only an alternative, in case teachers cannot be physically present at school or for students at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.
In Doodhpathri and New York, outdoor courses
In India, students in Doodhpathri, in the Himalayan region of Indian Kashmir, walk past streams and bridges and climb the hill to join their new classroom: a scenic location with the snow-capped Himalayas as a backdrop. Outdoors, these students maintain social distancing to attend classes.
Last Monday, New York City presented a similar program. The start of the school year on September 10 can be done there in the parks and gardens of the city or in the playgrounds. According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made the announcement with Education Officer Richard Carranza, the program is open to all public and private schools, as well as students with disabilities. Nevertheless, priority is given to the neighborhoods most affected by the pandemic, which do not have outdoor space in their buildings.
More generally in the United States, some schools have decided to combine face-to-face and distance learning courses.
In South Korea, a failed face-to-face return
On Tuesday, South Korea closed schools and resumed distance education in the Seoul area. Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said at least 193 students and teachers had been infected in the past two weeks in the capital and its suburbs, where a virus outbreak threatened to wipe out students. hard-won epidemiological gains by the country.
As a result, most children in kindergarten, elementary schools, middle schools and high schools will receive online lessons at least until September 11. Terminale students will continue to attend school so as not to interrupt their studies before crucial national exams.
The country had delayed the start of the school year by several weeks due to an epidemic in the Southeast in the spring, before proceeding with gradual reopenings from May.
Mexico privileges learning on television
In Mexico, school buildings will remain closed this fall and all students have been learning through television broadcasts since last Monday.
The Mexican government has called on the largest private television companies in the country to devote themselves to school programs 24 hours a day.
Many countries waiting
In Latin America, the health situation, even if a slowdown in the epidemic has been observed in recent days, does not allow for the time being to envisage a serene return to the benches. So far, Uruguay is the only country to have reopened its schools.
Many countries around the world have not yet developed their back-to-school protocol, but one thing is certain: governments are generally opposed to a 100% remote resumption, to avoid the exclusion of students who do not have the material or who could not study in good conditions.
Kenya, for example, canceled the last school year and plans to require students to return to the same class when school resumes in 2021.
Screening, outdoor or TV lessons… how do other countries manage the start of the school year?