Half-classes, no classes and facemasks: what happens from 11th May?

A large number of children will not be returning to classrooms this academic year, despite the reopening of schools in less than a week. Those who do will be required to follow strict safety measures.
There seems to be a lot of confusion in Monaco regarding which students can return to school and whether it will be mandatory. Also, many parents are concerned about what measures schools will be taking to ensure the safety of their children. Here, we attempt to clarify some important points.
Three-stage return to school
If all goes well following the lifting of the lockdown this week, schools will begin to reopen on 11th May, in coordination with France. From this day, only students in Years 12 and 13 (Première terminales) at general high schools (lycées) and Monaco’s Vocational and Catering School, as well as students studying the BTS Hotel and Catering Management, will return to class.
If the epidemic is still under control by Monday 18th May, then students in Years 7 and 10 (6° and 3°), including those in the adapted general and vocational education section (SEGPA), will return to class on this day.
Lessons will resume in half-size class groups and only a limited number of subjects will be taught in school: French, Mathematics, English, History-Geography, Physics-Chemistry, Life and Earth Sciences. Other subjects will be taught through distance learning.
The International School of Monaco will be reopening classrooms according to the needs of the curriculum.
The final phase will take place on Monday 25th, but again this will be dependent on the evolution of the situation. From this week, students in Year 2 (CP) and Year 6 (CM2) will return to school with lessons in half-size class groups.
School days will be organised to provide two hours of class teaching in French and Mathematics and one hour dedicated to other subjects such as English.
Who will not be returning to school this academic year?
Preschool children (maternelle), and students in Years 3, 4 and 5 (CE1, CE2 and CM1), 8 and 9 (5° and 4°), and Year 11 will have to continue distance learning until the end of this academic year. These students will not be returning to school until September.
Other students to fall into this category are those in “catch-up” (MAN), BTS Support for Managerial Activities, BTS Accountancy and Office Management, and Diploma in Accounting and Management students.
For students at the International School of Monaco, no students under class two will be returning this academic year.
What will be banned?
There will be no school canteen in operation, so students can either return home for lunch or take a packed lunch with them to school.
There will also be no physical and sports education classes.
Will school be mandatory?
While the Principality encourages the return of students to school, there will be no penalty applied if parents choose to keep their children at home – for the time being.
In this case, parents will be required to continue with home schooling directed by teachers.
If students are unable to return to class for health reasons, arrangements will be made for them to receive educational support remotely.
Safety and sanitary measures in schools
All schools will be applying strict safety measures on direction from the government, particularly social distancing. Floor markings placed at 1.5 metre increments will be applied at the entrance and exist of schools, while masks will be distributed to both students and staff. Students who are resident in the Principality will have received a mask at home, while students coming in from France will be provided one on arrival at school. Supplies will also be available for any students who may have damaged or lost their masks.
Class sizes will be halved and activities will be organised according to social distancing protocols.
Hand washing will be mandatory at the entrance and at the exit of the school, as well as after each lesson or activity. Schools will be providing hydro-alcoholic gel and soap for students to use.
Schools will also be required to undertake frequent disinfection of premises and equipment.
Movement around the school will be controlled to ensure limited contact and interaction between students.
Compensation for parents
If one parent must stay at home to look after a child/children because their classes are not resuming this academic year, they will continue to receive compensation from the government.
The measure banning employers from dismissing staff, except in cases of proven gross misconduct, will continue during this gradual return to normality.
If a parent chooses to continue home schooling despite the resumption of their child’s classes, they will not be compensated.
Why is Monaco’s plan different from France?
Monaco’s three-stage plan is the exact opposite of France, which is reopening classrooms for its youngest pupils first. The Principality has chosen instead to focus on the most critical school years, catering for students who need to fulfil certain conditions in order to move up to the next year.
The government believes preschool children do not have the same responsibility or pressure, while acknowledging that it will be easier to ensure compliance with health precautions among older, more mature children.