Back to school protocol outlined for Monaco

When students in Monaco return to school on Monday, little will change in terms of health protocol, says the government, especially when it comes to the health pass.

Commissioner General in charge of the Department of National Education, Youth and Sports, Isabelle Bonnal, who is overseeing her 11th rentrée, held a press conference Thursday regarding the upcoming return to classes, saying, “I am confident, we have put in a lot of work for back-to-school as you can imagine, for six months in advance for the 5,715 students who with be returning Monday morning.”

The new regulations for this school year will be familiar as the health protocols remain similar to last year. According to Ms Bonnal, “the measures having demonstrated their effectiveness” in the past will, by and large, be carried into the future.

Masks will be obligatory for pupils starting in first grade, and hygiene rules will continue. Hand washing several times per day, use of anti-viral gel, limited mixing, respect for social distancing and frequent cleaning of ventilation systems are some of the main features highlighted for the year.

But one of the biggest differences in Monaco from neighbouring France is the health pass. “The government has decided that access to schools will not be conditional on the presentation of a health pass, both for students and for staff,” Ms Bonnal said.

Kindergarten classes will be immediately sent home with a single positive case as they are not required to wear masks. For older students, if three pupils from the same class test positive, then the class will be sent home. “If a person is considered to be a high-risk contact case, they will be evicted whether or not they are vaccinated,” said the Commissioner.

Catering will follow last year’s protocols, and mask wearing will be necessary for indoor sport, though “the establishments will do everything in their power to ensure that the vast majority of sports lessons are given outdoors, in playgrounds for example,” said Ms Bonnal.

On the non-health front, there will be some changes to the national education curriculum with regards to language. From the beginning of the school year “second year students of the European and international sections of the Albert I Lycée will be able to follow, on an experimental basis, optional teaching in English in mathematics and / or physics and chemistry,” said Ms Bonnal, adding, “This is in order to meet the expectations of students who, after the baccalaureate, move towards scientific studies in foreign universities.”

Other new additions will be the offer of learning Greek, in addition to Latin, from 8th grade.

The Adapted General and Vocational Education Section (SEGPA) students will continue to benefit from the use of laptops distributed by the schools, before then giving access to laptops to the students of Albert I during the first semester. New state financial aid services will also go online in 2022. “We would like to facilitate the procedures and reduce the processing time even if the paper process will remain possible,” said Ms Bonnal on this point.

2022 marks the 100-year anniversary of the death of Albert I and students will benefit from several activities such as musical events put on by the Monaco Philharmonic Orchestra, film screenings at the Audio-Visual Institute, and workshops at the Oceanographic Museum.

Ms Bonnal also made clear her pride in the students and teachers of the Principality who achieved excellent results last year, despite the hardships, but reminded them that they need to keep working hard. “Let’s not forget, there is no easy success.” 

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