Schools in France were placed under a three-week closure – one week of distance learning and two weeks of rescheduled Easter holidays – as part of the ‘partial lockdown’ measures brought in at the start of April in an attempt to contain rapidly rising Covid case rates.
Announcing the closure at the start of April, president Emmanuel Macron said that primary schools would return on Monday, April 26th while secondary (collège) and high schools (lycée) would have one more week of distance learning before returning to in-person classes from Monday, May 3rd.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Thursday confirmed this timetable.
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He said: “The nurseries will reopen and primary school students will return to their classes on April 26th. Collège students and lycée students too, from May 3rd.”
Lycées have the option of giving up to 50 percent of their teaching via distance learning, and it is up to individual institutions to decide how much in-person teaching they do.
Attal added: “For some, the return to class could be done in half-class groups.”
Normally Easter holiday dates vary by region, but the government changed the dates for some areas so that the whole country had the same two weeks of holiday this year.
The French government has always said that closing schools is a last resort and schools remained open during the second lockdown. The government hopes that the three-week closure will be enough to halt the spread of the virus in schools, so that they can remain open until the summer holidays.
Attal added that the number of self-testing kits and the new saliva tests for Covid will be increased for schools as they go back.
All other health precautions such as the compulsory wearing of masks for staff and children over the age of 6 remain in place.