Questions and answers : Measures related to COVID-19 in schools and childcare facilities

On this page you will find the most frequent questions and answers on the measures taken in the education sector.

 

Suspension of classroom lessons and face-to-face activities from 28 December 2020 to 10 January 2021

Classes and activities are to resume on 11 January 2021, with the restrictions shown in the questions and answers below.

General questions

My child has been put into quarantine or isolation. Am I entitled to leave for family reasons (congé pour raisons familiales) in relation with COVID-19?

If your child has been put into quarantine because he/she has had close contacts with an infected person, or has been put into isolation because he himself/she herself is infected, you are entitled to take exceptional leave for family reasons in relation with COVID-19.

In both cases, the days of leave you take for family reasons are not deducted from the days provided for statutorily for ordinary leave for family reasons.

You can also make use of this exceptional leave if your child is not attending the maison relais following one positive case among the pupils in his school class. In fact, in this situation it is recommended that your child does not attend a daycare facility outside school hours.

See also the questions: “If my child’s class is kept separated from the rest of the school community because one of the children has tested positive for COVID-19, can my child still go to a maison relais (daycare facility)?” and “What happens if there is a single positive case in a school class?”

Application form and useful information at http://guichet.lu/cocrf

How is the health strategy being supervised in the education sector?

A ‘COVID-19 and Education’ scheme covers health monitoring and decision-making. It is organised on the basis of a Coordination Cell at the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, which is responsible for collecting data from schools, and a Comité de pilotage (steering committee), called upon to adopt any additional measures the situation may demand. The members of the Comité de pilotage are experts from the Health Inspection, the Health Directorate, the Schools Medical Service, the Directorate General of Elementary Education, the Directorate General of Secondary Education, and the head of the Coordination Cell.

Where can I get educational advice and information about Covid 19 in the education system?

You can address your questions via the contact form of the Ministry of Education’s helpline at www.schouldoheem.lu.

The 8002-9090 helpline providing general information on measures concerning the national education system and educational advice.The helpline can be reached on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 to 4 p.m.. 

You can also refer to the website of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth: www.men.lu.

To follow the news, please also consult www.covid19.lu and the national media.

Who should I contact if I have questions about children and young people with special needs or disabilities?

The social workers of the Service de la scolarisation des élèves à besoins spécifiques (S-EBS) are at your disposal.

They can be reached at following number: 247-85180 or by e-mail: social.s-ebs@men.lu.

Who can I turn to for psychological advice or support? Who can I turn to for psychological advice or support?

The CePAS (Centre psycho-social et d'acompagnement scolaires) offers a listening ear, advice and psychological support to students, parents and teachers, also in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic :

  • by phone on 247-75910 ;
  • through face-to-face consultations (free of charge, by appointment only);
  • by teleconsultation on request.

Working hours are Monday to Friday, also during school holidays, from 8.30 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 to 5 p.m..

Contact: facebook and messenger: @cepasluxembourg, email: info@cepas.public.lu, web page: www.cepas.lu

Where can I find educational material and activity ideas for children online?

The website at  www.schouldoheem.lu offers pupils, parents and teachers a broad selection of educational materials, and free access to a number of websites offering quality educational content, thereby ensuring the continuity of learning.

The "kannerdoheem" section offers activities and fun ideas for families, small groups of friends or children aged 1 to 4 and 4 to 12. The section is divided into types of activities such as thinking, being creative, thinking of others and being on the move, without forgetting the DIY enthusiasts!

On www.aktivdoheem.lu you can find tips on how to become or stay physically active. The activities are divided into four categories: parents with children, teenagers, seniors and small groups of children.

Where can I find information on COVID-19?

Please consult the website www.covid19.lu. You can also call 247-65533 for further information.

 

Day-care facilities

What health measures apply in crèches and mini-crèches?

Barrier gestures for children

Hand washing is the flagship barrier gesture. The staff sensitises the children according to their age and shows them the right gestures.

Wearing a mask, bandana (buff) or scarf is strictly forbidden before the age of two (risk of suffocation). It is not recommended for children under the age of 6, who do not accept it well. It can increase the risk of infection because the child regularly touches the mask and face with his hands. Special instructions (such as wearing special masks) may apply to highly vulnerable children, as instructed by their doctor.

Activities should take place outdoors as much as possible. Children under the age of 13 do not need to wear a mask or to respect social distancing when playing outside.

It should be avoided as far as possible, to use toys that cannot be cleaned properly.

Barrier gestures for members of staff

Whenever the interpersonal distance of 2 metres between adults cannot be respected, the wearing of a mask, bandana (buff) or scarf covering the mouth and nose is recommended. Other precautionary measures, such as social distancing or wearing a mask when interacting with people from outside the day-care centre, is compulsory.

In the presence of children, members of staff cannot always cover their faces because children need to see facial expressions.

Physical contact with babies is of course maintained. With older children, physical contact is still possible and necessary (consoling the child, helping him or her to get dressed, etc.). The adult ensures that hands and possibly his/her face and the child's face are washed after such physical contact.

The premises are cleaned, aired and ventilated thoroughly.

The same children should be supervised in the same group as far as possible.

These measures apply to all types of crèches or mini-crèche, whether private or government-licensed.

What health measures apply to day-care centres for school aged children?

Children will remain, as much as possible, always in the same group for all their activities. No more than ten children may take part in any one activity.

Activities are to be organized out-doors as much as possible. Activities involving many instances of physical contacts are to be avoided.

At meals, no more than 4 people may sit at the same table.

The wearing of masks is not recommended for children under the age of 6. It is compulsory for children of 6 years and above to wear a mask whenever they stand up and walk about.

It is also important to raise children and youth awareness for the basic rules of hygiene, such as regular and proper hand washing hand or greeting without physical contact, etc.


The premises are cleaned, aired and ventilated thoroughly.


It is recommended for staff members to wear a mask or a mouth and nose protection each time a physical distance of 2 meters cannot be observed.

In the event of contact with a person from outside, precautionary measures and wearing a mask need to be observed.

If my child’s class is kept separated from the rest of the school community because one of the children has tested positive for COVID-19, can my child still go to a maison relais (daycare facility)?

If a class is kept separated from the rest of the school community, it is recommended that the pupils do not attend a daycare facility outside school hours.

If somehow parents are unable to stay at home with their child, the childcare facility is invited to welcome the child, while isolating it as much as possible. If the child is over 6 years old, he or she must wear a mask.

For more details see the question below “What happens if there is a single positive case in a school class?”.

My child is not in school yet and attends a childcare facility. At the facility he has had contact with a person who has tested positive. What happens now?

If your son/daughter has had close and direct contact (for 15 minutes or more, in a distance of less than 2 metres and without a mask) with a person who has tested positive to COVID-19, he or she will be quarantined.

He or she can therefore no longer go to the care facility while waiting for the negative test result. The test is carried out at the earliest 6 days after the last contact with the person who has tested positive.

You will be sent a prescription for the test by the Ministry of Education authorities, by e-mail  

 

Elementary education and secondary education

What health measures have been set up in schools ?

To be able to contain the risk of contamination in school, the necessary health measures are being maintained:

In the classroom:

  • limited movement of pupils,
  • a fixed place for each pupil,
  • aeration and ventilation at regular intervals, with due regard for the safety of pupils (see point 3.3 of the instructions for elementary education staff and point 3.2 of the instructions for secondary education staff)
  • carbon dioxide (CO2) detectors to be made available, to measure air quality,
  • regular cleaning of surfaces,
  • increased hand hygiene (hand washing before start of lessons, after each break, after going to the toilet, before and after each meal)
  • social hygiene: coughing and sneezing into the crook of the elbow, avoiding physical touching (no handshaking, etc).
To allow schools and other educational and reception structures to operate as safely as possible, a new large-scale testing campaign is being organised, aimed at children and young people between 4 and 19 years of age, teachers and all other professionals in the national education system.

 

Within the school:

  • wearing a mask (see question below),
  • staggered breaks,
  • regular cleaning of toilets, etc,
  • fewer contacts outside the classroom,
  • professional meetings of more than four people by videoconference,
  • individual appointments for meetings with pupils’ parents,
  • organisation of movements in the school building.

Secondary schools may adopt additional measures, such as making the wearing of a mask compulsory when pupils are seated in the classroom, or organising higher classes on an alternating basis (e.g. alternate weeks physically present in the classroom).

How will the alternating system decided on for the upper classes up to the Carnival holidays operate?

In order to reduce the number of pupils present at the secondary school at the same time, the upper classes will operate, from Monday, 30 November 2020 until the schools’ Carnival holidays, according to a system that alternates between classroom teaching and distance teaching.

The classes concerned

  • 4e, 3e and 2e classes in classical secondary education,
  • 4e, 3e and 2e classes in general secondary education,
  • the following vocational training classes: 4TP, 3TP, 2TP, DP1 and DP2.

Alternation

The schools will choose which alternation model to adopt:

  • division of classes into two groups, A and B, or
  • having the whole class alternate between classroom learning and distance learning.

This will operate on a weekly or daily basis.

Maintenance of the present weekly timetable

The weekly timetable of classes is maintained; no content has been dropped, and learning will progress as normal. Pupils are required to attend both classroom lessons and distance learning lessons.

Distance learning

Teachers may choose to stream their teaching (in real time) using the MS Teams platform. They may use any other means they consider more suitable (filmed lesson, PowerPoint presentation, etc). Pupils following a class at home are able to interact with the teacher and their classmates at any time, using the functions of MS Teams.

An educational guide to distance teaching (Roadmap #digital_léieren) for both pupils and teachers provides advice on effective distance learning.

Assessment and semesters

To provide the best possible conditions for organising tests for certification purposes, the school year for the higher classes (except those in the final year) and for all classes in secondary education is now to be divided into two semesters. See question below.

Why is the school year organised in semesters in secondary education?

To provide the best possible conditions for organising tests for certification purposes, the school year is now to be divided into two semesters for all classes in secondary education:

  • from 15 September 2020 to 12 February 2021, and
  • from 22 February 2021 to 15 July 2021.

For each semester, the number of tests is to be at least the same as the number originally intended for one term.

To provide the best conditions for pupils in their final year to prepare for their final examinations, their classes will continue to be taught face-to-face in the classroom.

Does my child have to wear a mask at school?

Children under two years old are not allowed to wear a mask (or anything else covering their nose and mouth); it is not advised for children under six years old.

For children over 6 years old, a mask must be worn when travelling by public or school transport, within the school building, and when moving about in the classroom. It is optional while pupils are seated in the classroom. It is recommended in the schoolyard at both elementary and secondary schools.

Secondary schools may choose to require pupils to wear a mask while they are seated in the classroom.

Does my child have to wear a mask on school/public transport?

Children over six years old and young people must wear a mask on school and public transport.

Are there physical education and swimming classes?

Physical education classes are taking place, with protective measures:

  • preference for outdoor activities,
  • preference for individual sports,
  • team sports in groups of maximum 4 pupils / students,
  • compulsory wearing of masks for pupils over six years old on the way to and from activities and in changing room, up to the start of the activity,
  • hands to be washed at the start and end of the class.

It is not necessary to wear a mask during physical effort.

Because of the new rules being applied at swimming pools, it may not be possible to provide some swimming lessons; they are to be replaced by physical education classes or outdoor activities.

 

Are school canteens open?

School canteens are operating in line with protective measures:

  • masks to be worn on the way to and from the canteen, up to the time of sitting down at table
  • no more than 4 people per table
  • hands to be washed before and after the meal
  • no self-service buffets
  • in secondary education, the ‘Frupstuten’ scheme will continue (hot meal in a bag): pupils may eat their Frupstut or another meal in classrooms made available for that purpose, but there may not be more than ten people in the room.
Can extra-curricular activities and work experience placements (stages) take place?

All school travel, visits and excursions are cancelled.

Visits of secondary schools organised for classes in cycle 4.2 to guide them in their choice of a secondary school (ORIKA) are also cancelled: schools are encouraged to offer virtual visits and videoconferences as alternatives.

In elementary education, educational trips to woodland areas are still allowed. The number of classes allowed to organise a joint trip is limited to two.

Work experience placements for pupils in classical and general secondary education can only go ahead if the company concerned agrees.

What happens if there is a single positive case in a school class as a result of outside contamination? (scenario 1)

The person who tested positive is isolated at home.

The class concerned is separated from the other classes. It is not quarantined.

Pupils more than 6 years old and teachers must wear a mask for six days following the last contact with the person tested positive and during the testing period.

Pupils are exempted from physical education or swimming lessons. The class does not take its break when other classes do. 

It is recommended that pupils in elementary education have lunch at home. In secondary school, the pupils concerned eat in their classrooms (Frupstuten can be ordered).

Pupils who have no other possibility to get to school may continue to use school transport provided that they comply with the obligation to wear a mask.

It is recommended that pupils and teachers reduce their social contacts outside school for the time of them being kept separated from the rest of the school community.

The separation automatically ends on the eighth day after the last contact with the person who’s been tested positive.

You are entitled to leave for family reasons in relation with COVID-19, to stay at home with your child outside school hours.

 

Testing

People who have been in contact at the school with the person who has tested positive are identified (contact tracing) and invited to get tested no earlier than six days after their last contact with that person.

Testing may be carried out either in a medical analysis laboratory (laboratoire d’analyses médicales - LAM) or by a mobile testing team at the school. The class teacher (titulaire/régent) will tell you if your child’s class is to be tested at school.

Even if the school organises testing, you can still choose to have your child tested at a laboratory: the class teacher (titulaire/régent) will give you the prescription for your child’s test. If you agree to your child being tested at school, you will be asked to sign a consent form (attestation de consentement) and you will not be given a prescription: it will be sent straight to the Laboratoire national de santé (LNS) which is responsible, together with the Ministry, for the mobile testing teams.

 

What happens if there are several positive cases in one class at a school?

People who have tested positive are isolated at home.

Everyone who has been in contact in the school with the persons tested positive are identified (contact tracing) and tested.

The class is quarantined until a negative test result is obtained.

Teachers who have respected the barrier gestures are not quarantined.

What happens if there is a chain of infection at my child’s school?

If several people have been contaminated at school, additional protective measures proposed by the Comité de pilotage ‘COVID-19 and Education’ (a steering committee whose members are experts of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth) are set up. These varied measures are adopted according to the situation by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth. They may include:

• testing of a large part or all of the school’s population,
• making it compulsory to wear a mask in the classroom,
• quarantining several classes, or even the population of the entire school community,
• abandoning certain activities (school trips/excursions, etc),
• distance teaching for some or all classes, temporarily,
• closing areas where people gather (canteen, library, etc).
 

Will my child be tested regularly?

Your child may be invited to be tested as part of the Large-Scale Testing scheme. He/she may be tested if there are one or more positive cases in his/her class or school.

When will the mobile testing teams operate at a school?

When there is a single positive case in a class, the class is isolated and pupils and teachers are invited to get tested. See answer above to the question ‘What happens if there is a single positive case in a class as a result of outside contamination (scenario 1)?’

This is when a mobile team may be brought in at the school to test the pupils in the class concerned, no sooner than six days after the last contact with the person who tested positive. This intervention at a school is not automatic: it depends on the availability of the mobile teams. The class teacher (titulaire/régent) will keep you informed.

Even if the school organises testing, you can still choose to have your child tested at a laboratory: the class teacher (titulaire/régent) will give you the prescription for your child’s test.

If you agree to your child being tested at school, you will be asked to sign a consent form (attestation de consentement) and you will not be given a prescription: it will be sent straight to Laboratoire national de santé (LNS) which is responsible, together with the Ministry, for the mobile testing teams.

What about teachers and pupils who are vulnerable?

Your doctor must provide a certificate indicating that your child is vulnerable.

Teachers provide the necessary materials for distance learning. The website www.schouldoheem.lu also offers freely available teaching materials.

Teachers receive a ‘certificate of vulnerability’ from their doctor, which is validated by the occupational health practitioner. They teach as agreed with their head teacher or the regional director.

My child has symptoms - what should I do?

Your child must stay at home if he/she is ill or has:

at least one of the following major symptoms: fever; cough; difficulty breathing; chest pain; loss of taste and/or smell for no apparent reason

OR

at least two of the following minor symptoms: muscle pain; fatigue; rhinitis (nasal congestion or runny nose); sore throat; headache; loss of appetite; watery diarrhoea.

If you are unsure, keep your child at home and contact your doctor.

Music education arranged by municipalities

Are music lessons organised by municipalities still taking place?

Some classes remain suspended until further notice:

  • lessons and activities involving an instrumental/vocal ensemble, orchestra, choir, etc.

All other classes, for individuals and groups, including dance classes, are to resume as face-to-face activities from 11 January 2021, subject to observance of the strict health measures set out in the communication to municipal music education structures.

Out-of-school activities

Can youth activities (at ‘maison de jeunes’ youth centres, youth organisations, etc) take place?

Activities may takes place, subject to strict observance of the following protective measures:

  • masks must be worn both indoors and outdoors (except for sport activities);
  • activities in groups of no more than four young people;
  • no overnight stays.

Additionally, at ‘maison de jeunes’ youth centres, no more than four people may gather in one room or eat together at the same table. Preference should be given to outdoor activities.

Scout, LASEP, LASEL, etc. activities may only take place outdoors.

 

Vocational education and training

How will the alternating system decided on for vocational training classes up to the Carnival holidays operate?

Classes for technicians (except in their final year) and the first two years of classes for full-time DAP training are to be organised according to the alternating system up to the Carnival holidays (see also above: ‘How will the alternating system decided on for the upper classes up to the Carnival holidays operate?’).

Classes are to be divided between classroom teaching and distance learning as logically as possible: classes in a workshop or laboratory and ‘dual mode’ classes will mainly take place face-to-face in the classroom, while theory classes and full-time training courses will mainly use distance learning.

Apprenticeships with a training body will continue as before; they are not affected by the measures to be adopted in secondary schools in November and December.

Regarding the work placements (stages) required by certain full-time training courses, their feasibility will be assessed by the Ministry’s vocational training department in conjunction with the corresponding office at each secondary school and the professional chambers. Pupils will be informed by their school’s administration whether their placement is to go ahead or be postponed.

Can an apprentice whose class has been separated from the others because of an isolated positive case go to his/her training company?

When an isolated positive case occurs in the class, the training company  is informed by the school.

If the company cannot guarantee that the apprentice can continously wear a mask and restrict his/her social contacts, it is recommended that the company dispenses with the student's presence for the duration of the separation from the class.

 

Adult education

Can I still attend my adult training classes?

Adult training courses will continue to be held, subject to strict respect of barrier gestures, either in the classroom, or as distance learning, or using a combination of the two (blended learning) (Situation as at 11 Jan. 2021).

Participants are to be notified by the course provider if any changes are to be made to the organisation of classes.

What health measures must be respected in the context of adult training?

The document ‘nous protéger - vous protéger - me protéger’ describes the health measures that apply to adult training.

How can I get information and advice on adult education?

You can contact the Department of Adult Education either by phone at 8002 - 4488 or by e-mail sfa@men.lu .

An appointment can be set up at the Kirchberg site with an adult education advisor, if needed.

Visits without an appointment are to be avoided.

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