POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Schools may be re-opened exceptionally for vulnerable learners



Luxembourg education minister Claude Meisch, pictured, announced new measures to support learners, parents and teachers during the extended confinement period on 2 April 2020. SIP/Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

Luxembourg education minister Claude Meisch, pictured, announced new measures to support learners, parents and teachers during the extended confinement period on 2 April 2020. SIP/Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

Luxembourg’s schools may be re-opened in extreme cases to help learners without internet access or support at home to continue learning during the social distancing measures.

A survey of teachers and parents found that while nine out of ten parents had adapted to distance learning measures introduced three weeks ago to curb the spread of coronavirus, some parents and children had not been reachable for the survey.

Speaking during a televised press conference on Thursday, education minister Claude Meisch (DP) said: “It could be a question of IT or internet connection. It could be the student cannot study autonomously or doesn’t have the necessary support at home to follow the programme.”

To ensure no student or pupil is left behind, Meisch said that a series of measures would be rolled out in the coming weeks to help the most vulnerable. Among them, he said that after the Easter break, a team for specific needs groups will be activated at primary. “They will reach pupils in families that cannot be reached and find a way to work together,” he said.

At secondary level, where distance learning is not possible, school facilities will be opened to learners for “exceptional cases” and with the strictest sanitary conditions. “It won’t be a class but a framework in which pupils will have a remote exchange with teachers,” Meisch said.

The minister stressed that distance learning during the school term remained compulsory. And said he did not think discussions were necessary about continuing school during the summer holidays.

The minister also announced the following measures on Thursday:

  • The period of closure of schools and crèches has been pushed back until 4 May, a timeframe that impacts all public and private schools and training institutions, including adult education, as well as childcare facilities. Distance learners should however take advantage of the Easter holidays from 4 to 19 April. Since travel is banned, parents and learners can find ideas for staycation activities in English on the Schoul Doheem (homeschool) website and on the national youth service’s site snj.lu.
  • All learners will have an opportunity to complete their school year and move up to the next year in September 2020. The education ministry has reduced the list of required learning for learners to focus on “essential content”. The second and third terms of the school year have been merged into a single reference period during which there will be no classroom assignments.
  • An e-learning support service is also offered through helpline 8002 9090.
  • After classes have resumed, additional resources will be allocated to schools to provide support to students who need it, during or outside school hours.