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EDUCATION

LATEST: Where in France masks in primary schools are no longer mandatory

The majority of primary school children in France no longer need to wear masks in class, after the government expanded again the list of areas where masks are no longer obligatory as Covid case numbers continue to fall.

More French schools are scrapping the mask rule
More French schools are scrapping the mask rule. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

The French government announced the lifting of the mask rule in 47 départements from October 4th, followed by another 21 départements from October 11th and 12 more from Monday, October 18th.

In total 79 of France’s 101 mainland and overseas départements will no longer have a classroom mask mandate for primary school children – but the département of Lozère has reintroduce the mask rule after a rise in the incidence rate.

The mask rule for children in primary schools can be lifted once départements have a stable incidence rate of less than 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Map of incidence rates in France, with areas of a rate lower than 50 per 100,000 people shown in green. Map: Covidtracker

Here are the areas affected;

Lifted mask rule from October 18th

Ain
Ariège
Charente
Cher
Drôme
Gard
Hérault
Moselle
Haut-Rhin
Var
Haute-Vienne
Seine-et-Marne

Lifted the rule on October 11th

Hautes-Alpes
Aube
Haute-Corse
Doubs
Eure-et-Loir
Haute-Garonne
Gironde
Ille-et-Vilaine
Lot
Lot-et-Garonne
Nord
Oise
Puy-de-Dôme
Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Hautes-Pyrénées
Pyrénées-Orientales
Bas-Rhin
Savoie
Territoire de Belfort
and the overseas French territories of La Réunion and Mayotte

Lifted the rule on October 4th

Aisne, Allier, Ardennes, Aveyron, Calvados, Cantal, Charente-Maritime, Corrèze, Côte-d’Or, Côtes-d’Armor, Creuse, Deux-Sèvres, Dordogne, Eure, Finistère, Gers, Haute-Loire, Haute-Marne, Haute-Saône, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Isère, Landes, Loir-et-Cher, Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Lozère (but will reimpose the rule on October 18th), Maine-et-Loire, Manche, Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Morbihan, Nièvre, Orne, Pas-de-Calais, Saône-et-Loire, Sarthe, Seine-Maritime, Somme, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Vendée, Vienne, Vosges and Yonne.

The French government is also discussing the idea of scrapping the health passport in areas that have low incidence rates, or by sector, although this has so far not been confirmed.

Pupils at collège and lycée will continue to wear masks in class in all areas, while teachers are also obliged to continue wearing masks.

The education ministry is also running a trial on not sending home primary school pupils in classes where one pupil has tested positive, following a steady decline in reported cases in schools.

Classes in collège and lycée – where pupils are old enough to be vaccinated – already stay open after a positive test, with only the unvaccinated pupils sent home, while vaccinated youngsters continue to learn in the classroom.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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