This week, the association of public teachers for the French- and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland (CIIP) published its guidelines for reducing the spread of Covid-19 when schools reopen. The cantons followed with their new rules.
Staff and teachers at all levels of school will continue to wear masks in situations where they are less than 1.5 metres from someone else.
For younger children attending compulsory school the rules will remain much the same with no mask wearing requirements for pupils. However, older pupils attending post-compulsory school, who are typically over 15, will, like teachers, be required to wear masks much of the time.
After the summer holidays, when post-obligatory school classes return to full attendance, social distancing will become more difficult. Given the challenges of social distancing in fuller classrooms, the CIIP has advised cantons to introduce new mask wearing requirements designed to contain viral spread.
Following this advice, Geneva, Vaud and Valais have come up with new rules with some cantonal differences.
In Geneva, all staff and pupils at post-obligatory school will be required to wear masks when they cannot stay 1.5m apart and there is no wall or partition separating them.
In Valais, pupils attending post-obligatory school must wear masks, while teachers are not required to. Instead, teachers should focus on maintaining social distance.
The rules in Vaud are probably the strictest. Masks are compulsory for staff and students inside and outside school buildings. Anyone not wearing one is required to immediately leave the school premises. One exception is made for teachers. They may remove their masks when they are presenting in front of a class from a sufficient distance. In addition, everyone entering the school grounds must disinfect their hands and stay a minimum of 1.5 metres away from others.
Vaud and Geneva will provide free masks for the first two weeks and Valais for the first week. After that students will be required to cover the cost of their own masks.