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.

 

 

 

General questions

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.

Where can I get educational advice and useful information on Covid-19 from the education authorities?

You can send your questions using the form available from the education authorities’ helpline at www.schouldoheem.lu.

The 8002-9090 helpline can provide you with general information on the measures in force in the education sector, and educational advice. It can be reached on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 to 4 p.m.

You can also consult the website of the Ministry of Education, Childhood and Youth at www.men.lu.

And you can also follow the news on www.covid19.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 teaching materials, and free access to websites offering quality educational content, with a view to ensuring learning continuity.

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.

The website www.kannerzäit.lu provides ideas for family leisure activities to do outdoors, at home, at the museum, at the theatre, etc. despite the anti-COVID restrictions.

 

Who can I turn to for psychological advice or support?

The 8002-9393 helpline offers psychological aid and an attentive ear for children, teenagers, parents and families suffering from stress, conflict or potential burnout situations. It can be reached every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is staffed by members of the CePAS and the ONE.

The CePAS (Centre psycho-social et d'accompagnement scolaires - CePAS) offers an attentive ear, advice and support by phone for schoolchildren, parents and teachers. Face-to-face consultations are possible, but only by appointment.

The National Office for Children (Office national de l’enfance - ONE) offers support within the family, provided by private service providers under contract to the ONE.

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.

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.

Where can I find information on COVID-19?

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

Wearing a mask (or any other covering for the nose and mouth)

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 in cycle 1 (generally, children under the age of 6).

From cycle 2 upwards (generally, children over the age of 6), it is compulsory to wear a mask on school/public transport, inside school buildings, in the classroom, and in the schoolyard. It is not required during physical education lessons.

Certain pupils with special needs are not required to wear a mask.

Are all types of masks (including buffs, scarves, etc) allowed for wear in educational institutions and schools?

According to the recommendations issued by the Health Directorate (Direction de la santé), scarves, buffs and fabric masks are all authorised. They must cover both the nose and mouth.

The Ministry is distributing different types of masks (buffs, surgical and FFP2 masks) to schools on a regular basis.

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.

 

Testing

How is testing being organised in the national education sector?

A large scale testing campaign is currently under way among children and young people between the ages of 4 and 19 years, teachers, and other professionals in the school system, to make sure that it will be quite safe to resume class teaching after the Easter holidays.

Anyone who has not received an invitation can still contact the Ministry by sending an e-mail to testing@men.lu, indicating their registration number (matricule).

From the week starting on 19 April, rapid self-testing kits will be used in schools. Please visit the website at www.edutesting.lu.

Is my child tested regularly?

From the week starting on 19 April 2021 until the summer holidays, which will start on 15 July 2021, schools will have rapid self-testing kits at their disposal so that each pupil and member of staff will be able to self-test once a week. Please visit the website at www.edutesting.lu. 

Your child will continue to receive invitations to be tested as part of the Large-Scale Testing campaign (PCR test).

Children may also be tested if their class or school are affected by one or more positive cases (PCR test).

Self-testing is not instead of the other tests: they are complementary.

 

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 '‘At school, what happens if there is a single positive case 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.

The mobile testing teams will also be able to test all the pupils at those schools most seriously affected by Covid-19.

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 general consent form (attestation générale 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.

 

Basic sanitary measures in 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.

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

Barrier gestures for members of staff


Members of staff are required to maintain a distance of at least two metres from each other whenever possible. It is strongly recommended that they wear a mask, preferably transparent, since it is important that children see facial expressions. Visors will not be accepted, however.

Physical distancing must be observed and masks worn in the presence of any outsider.
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.

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 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 in cycle 1. It is compulsory for children from cycle 2 onwards and for adults.


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.

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 ?

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 “At school, what happens if there is a single positive case as a result of outside contamination? (scenario 1)"

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 Health Directorate.

 

 

Basic sanitary measures at elementary 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:

  • wearing a mask is compulsory for all adults and all pupils in cycle 2 upwards,
  • limited movement of pupils,
  • a fixed place for each pupil,
  • aeration and ventilation at regular intervals, with due regard for the safety of pupils,
  • 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).

 

Within the school:

  • wearing a mask is compulsory for all adults and all pupils in cycle 2 upwards,
  • 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.

 

Return to school after being in quarantine:

To be able to return to the classroom after being in quarantine, the pupil or teacher must produce a negative result for a test carried out no fewer than six days after the most recent contact with the infected person. In the event of refusal to take a test, the quarantine would be extended for a further seven days.

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 from cycle 2 upwards on the way to the activities, in the changing rooms and until the start of the activities,
  • 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?

Educational day-trips are allowed for individual classes, within the Grand Duchy. Masks must still be worn. The service provider’s health rules will apply.

Work experience for pupils in classic and general secondary education can only take place with the agreement of the undertaking concerned.

Will the the tests at national level (épreuves communes) in cycle 4.2 of elementary school take place?

These tests will be held as planned between 11 and 25 March 2021.

If distance learning were to recommence mid-March, guidance for pupils moving on from elementary to secondary school would be given without these tests, as in 2020.

See the orientation procedure.

 

 

How does the alternating system decided on for the upper classes operate?

In order to reduce the number of pupils present at the secondary school at the same time, the upper classes operate 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 is now to be divided into two semesters for all classes in secondary education (except graduating classes): 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.

How does the alternating system decided on for vocational training classes operate?

Classes for technicians (except graduating classes) and the first two years of classes for full-time DAP training are organised according to the alternating system (see also above: ‘How does the alternating system decided on for the upper classes 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.

If you are an apprentice pupil in a sector that is not locked down, you should continue to go to your training company.

 

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. You will be informed by the school’s administration whether your placement is to go ahead or be postponed.

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.

 

 

Basic sanitary measures in music education arranged by municipalities

Are music lessons organised by municipalities still taking place?

There will be no classes and activities involving an instrumental/vocal ensemble, orchestra, choir, etc.

All other classes, for individuals and groups, including dance classes, take place as face-to-face activities, subject to observance of the strict health measures set out in the communication to municipal music education structures.



Basic sanitary measures for out-of-school activities

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

It is highly recommended that out-of-school activities only take place outdoors.

Indoor activities while wearing a mask, for children at least 6 years old, nevertheless remain possible, if their aim is to help or support young people experiencing difficulty coping with the present crisis. The number of young people indoors should be kept to a strict minimum.See the instructions for the youth sector.

Activities including an overnight stay will not be authorised until further notice.

 

Basic sanitary measures in adult education

Can I still attend my adult training classes?

Adult training courses 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 12 February 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.

Sanitary measures when positive cases are detected in educational and school structures

What happens if there is one positive case in a crèche or mini-crèche?

The child or adult who tested positive is isolated at home. The group if the child who tested positive is quarantined.

Will a day-care facility for school aged children close in case of a contamination?

The decision to close a day-care facility for school aged children (‘maison relais’, ‘foyer scolaire’, etc) will be made in the following cases:

  • chain of infections within the facility,
  • chain of infection at the school,
  • substantial increase in the number of positive test results among the national school population.
At school, what happens if there is a single positive case 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 are exempted from physical education or swimming lessons. The class does not take its break when other classes do.

It is recommended by the Health Directorate that pupils in elementary education do not attend a day-care facility and 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 by the Health Directorate 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.

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 at school by a mobile testing team no earlier than six days after their last contact with that person.

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.

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.

What happens if there are several positive cases in one class at a school? (scenario 2 and 3)

People who have tested positive are isolated at home.

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

You will be sent a prescription with the recommended date for having your child tested at a laboratory.

Teachers who have respected the barrier gestures are not quarantined.

What happens if there is a chain of infection at my child’s school? (scenario 4)

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:

  • immediate quarantining of classes as soon as one positive case is detected,
  • preventive quarantining of study cycles or years,
  • closure of the school,
  • stopping pupils taking part in extra-curricular activities,
  • preventive testing of the entire school community,
  • in secondary education: alternating teaching for all classes, except 7e and 1ère.
  • at ‘maisons relais’: fixed class groups (the pupils of one and the same class do not mix with those of another class on the premises of a ‘maison relais’).
What happens if there is a substantial nationwide increase in the number of positive test results among school aged children?

The Government may decide to adopt the following measures:

1) In elementary education:

  • Limitation of classroom lessons to mornings only, with distance learning in the afternoons
  • Organisation of reception before and after classes up to 1 p.m. (without a meal). Schools would stay open in the afternoon for activities to help pupils at risk of dropping out.
  • Opening of structures to help out front-line workers.
  • Closure of ‘maisons relais’ and ‘foyers scolaires’

2) In secondary education:

  • Alternating model with weeks A and B for all classes, except 7e and 1re.
  • Limitation of classroom lessons to mornings only, with distance learning in the afternoons (including 7e and 1re). Secondary schools will remain open to provide activities to help pupils at risk of dropping out.
  • Closure of school canteens

3) Suspension of face-to-face extracurricular activities

4) Closure of extracurricular sport activities

5) Distance teaching nationwide during the weeks preceding or following school holidays if the situation requires it.

What happens if there is a single positive case in an adult training course?

If you attend an adult training course and have tested positive, you must inform the training provider.

To the adult training providers:

If a learner or teacher in one of your classroom courses notifies you that he/she has been tested positive for COVID-19, you must send an e-mail to covid19@men.lu, stating the name, the class concerned, and the date of the most recent contact between the person who has tested positive and the other people of the course.

The learners of the course will be informed by the Health Directorate if they are to be quarantined and will be sent a prescription for being tested.

Can a student in the final year of secondary education (1ère), who is isolated after testing positive, participate in the school-leaving exams?

Students who are absent for no more than one day will sit the corresponding exams on the catch-up day in early June.

Students who are absent for more than one day will sit the exams at the autumn session in mid-September.

Can a student in the final year of secondary education (1ère) who is in quarantine following contact with a person who has tested positive sit the school-leaving exams?

Students who are in quarantine can ask the Health Inspection (Inspection sanitaire) to lift the quarantine restrictions so that they can sit the exams.

These students will sit their exams in a room separate from the other candidates.

Students and supervisors will receive FFP2 masks.

These students must not travel by public transport or have any contact with the other candidates.

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