‘Bubbles’ & Staggered Timings: Europe Reopens Schools in September

Most schools in Europe are reopening in September as the summer break draws to a close. 

3 min read
Most schools in Europe are reopening in September as the summer break draws to a close. 

From classroom bubbles to staggered timings, most countries in Europe are now reopening schools for all students as the summer break draws to a close. Schools in the continent had resorted to online classes after most of them were forced to close doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

How is the UK Reopening schools?

Britain has followed a step-by-step approach to reopening schools, opening them for a group of classes at a time. In this model, while primary schools were opened on 1 June for some year groups, those for secondary school students aged 15 to 18 reopened on 15 June. In September, all years and classes are now back in Britain’s schools with the following measures:

  • 96 percent schools splitting classes into groups or bubbles
  • Each bubble keeps a safe distance from the other
  • Majority have staggered start, break and end time
  • Masks mandatory for students & teachers across community areas in secondary level

Wearing masks mandatory in Germany?

In Germany, most children returned to schools by early August and wearing masks is mandatory in most, but not all states. Additionally, there’s added emphasis on hand sanitisation and students have been asked to keep hands off the banisters. Here’s some of the common features:

  • Masks compulsory for students & teachers in most states, except when seated at desks
  • Free testing available for school teachers
  • Classes or clusters are being kept in separate areas of the school during breaks.
  • Social distancing not mandatory within groups but each group has its own area

What are the measures undertaken by France?

From the beginning of September, most schools will open in France, with relatively relaxed measures than the ones introduced in May. Wearing of masks is mandatory for students over 11 years of age.

  • Attendance mandatory in general, but schools can limit attendance during surge or close temporarily should there be a regional outbreak
  • Social distancing not compulsory for children of the same class in KG
  • Primary schools can divide classes into groups of 8 to 15 students who can attend a half-day in school and learn from home the next day.
  • At the secondary level, students are to attend classes at least for a few days in a week.

How is Italy reopening schools?

Unlike, most European countries, schools in Italy will reopen in Mid September and measures to prevent the spread the virus are still being finalised. However, one thing that is common in Italy’s model is the concept of staggered school timings. Here are a few ideas that the country is working on:

  • Masks compulsory for those entering and leaving schools, but can be removed during lessons
  • Single desks to be introduced to ensure students sit separately
  • To prevent overcrowding, larger classes in secondary schools can use mix of distance and in-classroom learning
  • School and health authorities to decide on shutting school if a teacher or student gets infected

What about other European nations?

The Netherlands - Elementary and high schools to reopen in August, with face-to-face classes for primary and high school students. Masks not compulsory for students or teachers. Symptomatic children above six years to stay home and get tested.

Spain - Primary and secondary schools start classes in September. Attendance is mandatory, so are masks for children above six. Temperature checks to be done every morning at school or home and students must wash hands at least five time a day.

(With inputs from Reuters and BBC)

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