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

The majority of primary school children in France no longer need to wear masks in class, after the government expanded again the list of areas where masks are no longer obligatory as Covid case numbers continue to fall.

More French schools are scrapping the mask rule
More French schools are scrapping the mask rule. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

The French government announced the lifting of the mask rule in 47 départements from October 4th, followed by another 21 départements from October 11th and 12 more from Monday, October 18th.

In total 79 of France’s 101 mainland and overseas départements will no longer have a classroom mask mandate for primary school children – but the département of Lozère has 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.

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;

Lifted mask rule from October 18th


Lifted the rule on October 11th

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.

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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‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

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“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.