Sanitary protocol and color codes in schools: we explain

Sanitary protocol and color codes in schools we

  • News
  • Updated on 03/09/2021

    7 min read

    The Ministry of National Education has decided to adapt the health protocol against Covid-19 according to the local health situation. The measures will be put in place from September.

    The start of the 2021 school year will still be in the shadow of the health crisis. On his site, the Ministry of National Education has detailed the protocol against Covid-19 whose measures concern elementary schools, colleges and high schools. This year, the ministry decided to adapt the rules according to the health situation of the territory by setting up a graduation with 4 levels : green level (1), yellow level (2), orange level (3) and red level (4). “A regular analysis of the situation is provided by the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports, on the basis in particular of the indicators provided by Public Health France for different territorial scales, explains the ministry on its site. Depending on the epidemic situation, the move from one level to another may be triggered at the national or territorial level (department, academy, region) in order to guarantee responsiveness as well as proportionality of measures. ” Teachers will be informed before the start of the school year, of the level of each territory. This level may change depending on the local circulation of the virus.

    Code green, yellow, orange, red: what is it?

    For the start of the 2021 school year, schools from nursery schools to high schools will be subject to a specific health protocol determined by a color code.

    • Green code : It corresponds to level 1, the most favorable for studying face-to-face. In kindergarten and primary school, students can no longer wear a mask, middle school and high school students must wear it indoors. Aeration and hand washing measures are maintained.
    • Code yellow : This is level 2. The students stay face-to-face, everyone must wear the mask indoors, except kindergarten students who are always exempt from it.
      Physical and sporting activities can be practiced outdoors as well as indoors while respecting a distance of 2 m.
      Groupings or crossings of students from different groups should be avoided.
    • Code Orange : this is level 3.
      All students must wear a mask, both outdoors and indoors. Classes are provided face-to-face, except for high school students who will have face-to-face / distance courses depending on the case.
      Primary and kindergarten students will be subject to the restriction of mixing by compulsory level and by class during the canteen. Physical and sporting activities will be permitted outdoors. For indoors, only low-intensity activities compatible with wearing a mask will be authorized.
    • Red code : This is the last level.
      Students from primary school, as well as from 6th and 5th in college will be able to take their face-to-face lessons, the others will have hybrid lessons, with a 50% gauge.
      Sports and physical activities will be authorized only outdoors, with a distance of 2 m.

    Will the students be face-to-face or distance learning?

    As the ministry indicates, “Face-to-face teaching is privileged for all students and throughout school time” but some measures are taken depending on the level. In green and yellow level, all students come to class. On the other hand, in orange level, the installation of a “hybridization” between face-to-face and distance learning is considered in high school if “The configuration of the establishment requires it”. At the red level, the most critical, hybridization is systematic in high school and college only for 4th and 3rd year classes with a 50% enrollment limitation.
    Regardless of the territorial level, the ministry reminds parents not to send their children to school in the event of:

    • Fever ;
    • Appearance of symptoms of Covid-19 in schoolchildren or in their families;
    • Positive test of the pupil or of a member of his family;
    • Contact case of the pupil or one of his family members (“Except exceptions provided by the health authorities for risky contacts”).

    The legal guardians of the child must notify the director of the establishment in these four situations. Note: From the first positive case, the class must close for 7 days, regardless of the level of the territory.

    Special instructions “For students with pathologies that make them vulnerable to the risk of developing a serious form of COVID-19 infection, the referring doctor determines the conditions for their continued presence in the school or educational establishment”.

    At last, “The access of accompanying persons to school buildings must be limited to what is strictly necessary and be done after cleaning and disinfection of the hands. Wearing a mask is required under the same conditions as those applicable to personnel ”.

    Will it be necessary to wear a mask?

    Speaking of the mask, it remains mandatory for the establishment staff within the establishment regardless of the level. Regarding the exterior, it is not imposed in the green and yellow levels. When the pupil is not wearing his mask, he is invited to leave it hanging from a hook or folded up without contact between the outside and the inside of the mask in an individual bag.

    For the staff of the establishment, two so-called “general public” masks will be distributed on the days of presence in the school.

    On the student side, wearing a mask is not compulsory for preschool children. For the others, it is imposed:

    • in green level: for middle and high school students “In confined spaces and the rules relating to wearing a mask outdoors in the general population are respected” ;
    • in yellow level: for students from elementary school to high school “In confined spaces and the rules relating to wearing a mask outdoors in the general population are respected” ;
    • in orange and red level: for students from elementary school to high school “In enclosed spaces and outdoors”.

    It is up to parents to provide masks to students, unless this is not possible, in which case the ministry undertakes to provide “general public” masks to these children.

    In addition to wearing a mask, other barrier gestures must be ensured: hand washing on arrival at the school, before and after each meal, before and after recess, after going to the toilet and finally, in the evening before going home or on arrival at home, as well as ventilation and ventilation as soon as possible of the rooms of the establishment.

    Physical and sports activities are maintained in each school indoor and outdoor for the green level, preferably outdoors as soon as the weather permits or depending on the availability of facilities. If this is not possible, the activity can be done indoors, but with a distance of meters to respect between each person. In orange level, the exterior is privileged. “However, when indoor practice is essential (bad weather, availability of facilities, etc.), only low-intensity activities compatible with wearing a mask and a distance of 2 meters are authorized”, indicates the ministry. Finally, in red level, the practice of sport is maintained outdoors with a respect of a distance of 2 meters between people, but prohibited indoors.

    What about the canteen?

    The school canteen is provided in each establishment. “The time slots and the number of services are adapted so as to limit flows and occupancy density and to allow the limitation of mixing. As far as possible, the inputs and outputs are separated. The seats are arranged in such a way as to avoid being face to face or even side by side (for example in staggered rows) when this is physically possible ”, can we read in the protocol.

    If in level 1, the spaces are arranged and an organization is put in place to avoid the mixing of students, in level 2, “As far as possible, the same pupils eat lunch every day at the same table in the first stage” and the ministry recommends setting up an individual service. The same instructions apply to levels 3 and 4, with the difference that bulk foodstuffs are prohibited. Another difference: if the establishment is not able to ensure the respect of barrier gestures, other spaces than the canteen must be made available to allow the pupils to have lunch. It can be a nearby party hall, gymnasium, etc.

    Are vaccinated children subject to the same regulations?

    What differentiates this new school year from that of last year is the opening on June 15 of vaccination to children over 12 years old. As of July 25, 24% of 12-17 year olds had received at least one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 according to France Info. If these students must respect the barrier measures like the others, a measure does not concern them. Indeed, Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of National Education announced Wednesday July 28 to France Info, that vaccinated children could continue to come to class even if one of their comrade tests positive for Covid-19. While “high-risk contact students who do not justify a complete vaccination will continue their distance learning for 7 days“indicates the site of the National Education.

    Isolation of unvaccinated children: can parents keep them at home?

    When a child is declared a “contact case”, one of his parents will be able to benefit, for 7 days, from derogatory daily allowances (at least 90% of his gross salary), without waiting period, with an employer supplement, and whether or not he is vaccinated.

    This compensation is open to only one of the two parents of the household, when he cannot telework.

    No information was given for vaccinated teachers. And the minister said that the teaching staff will not be subject to compulsory vaccination, except “If there was too low a percentage of vaccinated teachers”.

    Summary of health measures

    Regarding the health pass, students will not be asked to allow access to the enclosure. On the other hand, vaccination centers will be held not far from middle and high schools, because as a reminder, the extension of the health pass to long-distance transport and restaurants apply to minors over 12 years old from September 30.

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