Mask-wearing will no longer be compulsory in the primary schools – écoles primaires – of an additional 21 French departments from Monday (October 11).
These are: Hautes-Alpes, Aube, Haute-Corse, Doubs, Eure-et-Loir, Haute-Garonne, Gironde, Ille-et-Vilaine, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Nord, Oise, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Bas-Rhin, Savoie, Territoire de Belfort, La Réunion and Mayotte, according to a decree published in Le Journal officiel today (October 7).
The measure remains in force for 33 departments including all areas of Ile-de-France, Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana.
Face mask rules were already relaxed for primary pupils in 47 areas on October 4. This updated list brings the total to 68: around two thirds of all French departments.
The government announced “localised” changes to Covid restrictions in educational establishments on September 22, when it stated that masks would become optional in primary schools located in departments where the infection rate had been below 50 per 100,000 people for five consecutive days.
However, teachers and other staff members working with pupils must continue to wear a mask.
In areas where the infection rate is very low, all schools and nurseries move to alert level 1 (green), which allows for the relaxation of rules surrounding indoor sports lessons and class mixing.
Everywhere else in mainland France remains on a yellow alert level 2, whereby timetables should be structured to limit pupil movements around the school building and to stagger their arrivals, break times and departures.
In areas where the incidence of coronavirus has stabilised below 50 cases per 100,000 people, certain public spaces – including nightclubs and standing concert venues – can also relax limits on the number of people they can accommodate.