LATEST: Where in France masks in primary schools are no longer mandatory

More French schools are scrapping the mask rule
More French schools are scrapping the mask rule. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP
The majority of primary school children in France will no longer need to wear masks in class from Monday, after the government expanded again the list of areas where masks are no longer obligatory as Covid case numbers continue to fall.

The French government had already announced the lifting of the mask rule in 47 départements, which came into force on October 4th, this was followed by another 21 départements from October 11th.

Now 12 new départements have been added to the list, and the new rule will take effect from Monday, October 18th – meaning that in total 79 of France’s 101 mainland and overseas départements will no longer have a classroom mask mandate for primary school children.

The département of Lozère will reintroduce the mask rule after a rise in the incidence rate.

The mask rule for children in primary schools can be lifted once départements have a stable incidence rate of less than 50 cases per 100,000 people, case rates in France have been falling steadily for several months now.

Map of incidence rates in France, with areas of a rate lower than 50 per 100,000 people shown in green. Map: Covidtracker

Here are the areas affected;

Can lift mask rule from October 18th

Ain
Ariège
Charente
Cher
Drôme
Gard
Hérault
Moselle
Haut-Rhin
Var
Haute-Vienne
Seine-et-Marne

Lifted the rule on October 11th

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
and the overseas French territories of La Réunion and Mayotte

Lifted the rule on October 4th

Aisne, Allier, Ardennes, Aveyron, Calvados, Cantal, Charente-Maritime, Corrèze, Côte-d’Or, Côtes-d’Armor, Creuse, Deux-Sèvres, Dordogne, Eure, Finistère, Gers, Haute-Loire, Haute-Marne, Haute-Saône, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Isère, Landes, Loir-et-Cher, Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Lozère (but will reimpose the rule on October 18th), Maine-et-Loire, Manche, Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Morbihan, Nièvre, Orne, Pas-de-Calais, Saône-et-Loire, Sarthe, Seine-Maritime, Somme, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Vendée, Vienne, Vosges and Yonne.

Six weeks after the start of the new school year and case numbers continue to fall steadily in France, with no sign of a feared spike in cases once schools returned.

The French government is also discussing the idea of scrapping the health passport in areas that have low incidence rates, or by sector, although this has so far not been confirmed.

Pupils at collège and lycée will continue to wear masks in class in all areas, while teachers are also obliged to continue wearing masks.

The education ministry is also running a trial on not sending home primary school pupils in classes where one pupil has tested positive, following a steady decline in reported cases in schools.

Classes in collège and lycée – where pupils are old enough to be vaccinated – already stay open after a positive test, with only the unvaccinated pupils sent home, while vaccinated youngsters continue to learn in the classroom.


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