Walloon education minister details coronavirus plan for higher education
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    Walloon education minister details coronavirus plan for higher education

    Credit: Belga

    In higher education in Wallonia, wearing a face mask will be recommended for everyone and will be compulsory if social distancing cannot be respected, whether there is a second coronavirus wave or not.

    These measures are included in a protocol that Walloon Minister of Higher Education Valérie Glatigny drew up with higher education institutions and the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES). 

    As is the case for compulsory education, four scenarios have been developed, with a colour code ranging from green to red through yellow and orange. In the absence of a vaccine or collective immunity, the next academic year in September will be coded yellow, if the health situation does not deteriorate by then.

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    In this scenario, in addition to wearing the recommended mask, teachers and students will also be required to disinfect or wash their hands before entering any premises, and shaking hands will not be permitted.

    Wherever possible, traffic within the institutions will be one-way. In all cases, the routes will be signposted in such a way as to limit contact between people as much as possible.

    In auditoriums and classrooms, only every second seat should be occupied and/or people should sit 1.5 metres apart. In addition, the premises may only be used for a maximum of 3 hours at a time. 

    Ventilation will also be particularly important. Furthermore, all premises in which students take classes or carry out other educational activities will be cleaned and disinfected “adequately”, according to the protocol.

    In libraries, media libraries and computer rooms, work tables and computers will be systematically disinfected. Catering areas will be organised in accordance with the conditions applicable to the catering sector.

    Additional precautions will have to be taken for people at risk. For the courses, the sanitary rules to be respected will be those in force at the place of training.

    Finally, institutions must take care to avoid having too many students in the auditoriums. Some educational activities could therefore continue to be held online after the start of the school year.

    The Brussels Times