back to school in Germany, Belgium, Lebanon and Italy

The French government has confirmed its plan to reopen the schools: French teachers will be back on May 11, and the first students in the days that follow. 80 to 85% of schools will be open next week, says the Minister of National Education, and uAbout n million children will go back to school next week. But how does it work with our German, Belgian, Lebanese and Italian neighbors?

In Germany, first: it has already started since Monday, May 4, with the aim of everyone returning to school by next summer. For the moment, back to school is going well, in relative serenity. On the side of teachers, students, parents, there is obviously no concern, the mask is not mandatory, but everyone must respect safe distances and wash their hands regularly. Instructions that give the impression to some teachers “to do a job as a caretaker more than a teacher.” Other groups, other classes will return in the coming weeks and this will raise a difficulty: the number of rooms, the number of teachers available and these are questions that are still not resolved.

A little less Zen: Belgium, very affected by the virus. The resumption is scheduled only Monday, May 18 and dispersed. This date is indicative and the rules may be different depending on whether one is in a Flemish, French or German-speaking school, because education is not a federal competence. In Flanders, the school resumes well on Monday 18, but there will for example be a test day on Friday 15 and the classes deemed to be priority will not always be the same as in Brussels, in French-speaking schools. To this must be added the specificity of international schools, very numerous in the capital, very autonomous in their decisions. European schools, for example, are examining a possible resumption, but which will not be before May 25.

In Lebanon, maximum caution, the school gates are still closed, at least until June. The deconfinement started at the end of April. It takes place in five phases, until June 8. Before this date, the schools remain closed. Two exceptions: day nurseries and classes of students who take national exams, such as the college certificate or the baccalaureate. The recovery is planned for them during the fourth phase of deconfinement, on May 24, just after the end of Ramadan and Eid el-Fitr. In the end, the students will have missed 14 weeks of lessons.

In Italy, the key word is “caution”. The authorities have decided to reopen schools next September. More than 8 million young Italians have been deprived of school since March 5. The President of the Council, Giuseppe Conte, justified this decision several times, stressing the potential for contagion that the children would have. Conte does not want to take any risks: the start of the school year in Italy will be in September, well after that of the French children.


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