The Ministers of Education of the French, Flemish and German-speaking Communities have agreed on a common plan for the organization of the next school year according to the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, they announced Wednesday at a joint press conference.
“The corona will remain a reality, also at the start of the next school year. We therefore wanted a specific framework for schools, students and parents, “commented Caroline Désir, the French-speaking Minister of Education.
Four health scenarios have been developed with specific modalities concerning the presence of students in class according to their age group.
Thus, for nursery and primary education, all children, even in the most critical phases of the pandemic, will be expected in class every day of the week. According to pediatricians, those under 12 are less affected by the virus and less transmitters.
In the event of a sick child in a class, his “contact bubble” will then be closed and confined, as is already the practice today.
In secondary education, on the other hand, the battle plan is more evolving.
Teaching will not resume for 100% of the students and five days a week only in the event of a return to the green phase (vaccine available or collective immunity).
In the yellow phase (which corresponds to the current health situation, with a low circulation of the virus), the pupils will go to school next September only four days a week.
On Wednesday, they will stay at home with work from home.
In this yellow phase, students will have to wear a mask when the safety distances cannot be respected in the school. The canteens will however be authorized to reopen.
Schools will continue to apply the current strict rules on hygiene, ventilation of the premises, etc.
However, if the virus were to return systematically (orange phase), or even massive (red phase) in the fall, all secondary classes will then be divided into two groups. Students will only go to class two days a week. The other two days, they will benefit from distance learning.
The National Security Council (CNS) will decide on the transition from one health phase to another. Schools will have the “time necessary” to adapt their teaching methods, but without specific deadlines.
The transition from one phase to another could however be limited to a limited geographical area if a major focus were to be located in a specific municipality or region, without therefore generalizing to the whole country.
Specific provisions for dual education, as well as for academies, have also been adopted.
The adoption of this battle plan common to the three Communities for the next school year contrasts in any case with the differences which appeared between Communities at the end of April, and the only rider practiced by Flanders in matters of return to school.