How schools around the world are reopening during the coronavirus pandemic

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(ABC News) – Much of the world remains on some form of lockdown. But as countries slowly start to loosen restrictions, that has meant schools are back in session for in-person instruction.

What does the classroom look like during a pandemic? As places such as China and Denmark reopen their countries, they provide answers to — or at least experiments in — how social distancing and safety protocols play out.

Alex Plavevski/EPA via ShutterstockStudents enter the Nanwu school in Guangzhou, China, April 17, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.Students enter the Nanwu school in Guangzhou, China, April 17, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.Alex Plavevski/EPA via Shutterstock

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Alex Grimm/Getty ImagesStaff tape off social-distancing markings as they prepare to reopen Schloss-Schule elementary school, April 21, 2020, in Heppenheim, Germany.Staff tape off social-distancing markings as they prepare to reopen Schloss-Schule elementary school, April 21, 2020, in Heppenheim, Germany.Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Face masks, to a degree

Face coverings are a common sight as school children return to their desks. China has been rolling out school reopenings over the past several weeks, from Hubei to Chongqing to Guangdong. And from province to province, students and teachers are sporting face masks, with a few exceptions, like during gym class or lunch.

Jean-philippe Ksiazek/AFP via Getty ImagesPrimary school pupils attend class wearing protective visor caps made by the city council in La Grand-Croix, near Saint-Etienne, central France, two days after lockdown measures were eased, May 12, 2020.Primary school pupils attend class wearing protective visor caps made by the city council in La Grand-Croix, near Saint-Etienne, central France, two days after lockdown measures were eased, May 12, 2020.Jean-philippe Ksiazek/AFP via Getty Images

In France, where a majority of schools reopened this week, masks are required for students ages 11 and up. In towns such as La Grand-Croix and Val-de-Reuil, primary school students have been wearing protective visor caps.

In Germany, where schools started to reopen last month, mask regulations vary by state. They are required for everyone age 7 and up in Bavaria, for instance.

Social distancing indoors and out

How do you enforce social distancing in crowded classrooms and during recess? One way is to have students on a staggered schedule to limit classroom and hallway capacity. New South Wales, Australia’s biggest state, reopened schools on Monday, with students attending in person one day a week and learning from home the rest.

Ritzau Scanpix Denmark/via ReutersRebekka Hjorth holds a music lesson outdoors with her class at the Korshoejskolen school, after it reopened following the lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, in Randers, Denmark, April 15, 2020.Rebekka Hjorth holds a music lesson outdoors with her class at the Korshoejskolen school, after it reopened following the lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, in Randers, Denmark, April 15, 2020.Ritzau Scanpix Denmark/via Reuters

Another solution is to move classes outdoors. In Denmark, which started reopening schools in mid-April, classes are being held outside, such as in parks, as much as possible.

Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty ImagesStudents eat their lunch on desks with plastic partitions as a preventive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 at Dajia Elementary School, in Taipei, on April 29, 2020.Students eat their lunch on desks with plastic partitions as a preventive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 at Dajia Elementary School, in Taipei, on April 29, 2020.Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images

Some schools are enforcing social distancing through means like plastic partitions during lunch, seen in Taiwan, and individual chalk squares for outdoor play, observed at a preschool in Tourcoing, France.

Benoit Tessier/ReutersSchoolchildren stand on smiley faces to maintain social distancing in the courtyard of a primary school during its reopening in Paris, May 14, 2020. A small number of Parisian children headed…

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Jane Barlow/Zuma PressThe children of essential workers comply with social distancing rules in the cafeteria of a hub school for Edinburgh city center pupils at Drummond Community High School, Edinburgh, April 28, 2020.The children of essential workers comply with social distancing rules in the cafeteria of a hub school for Edinburgh city center pupils at Drummond Community High School, Edinburgh, April 28, 2020.Jane Barlow/Zuma Press

Tests and screenings

The World Health Organization recommends daily temperature checks for students as part of schools’ COVID-19 public health measures. In Shanghai, students and staff enter school through thermal scanners. At Montana’s rural Willow Creek School, one of the first schools to reopen in the U.S., students’ temperatures are checked upon entrance.

Str/AFP via Getty ImagesA staff member guides a student to check her body temperature with a thermal scanner before entering an elementary school in Pingdingshan City, in China’s central Henan province, on May 8, 2020.A staff member guides a student to check her body temperature with a thermal scanner before entering an elementary school in Pingdingshan City, in China’s central Henan province, on May 8, 2020.Str/AFP via Getty Images

COVID-19 diagnostic testing is also being done on school grounds. Testing is commonplace in Wuhan, where students line up along cones to give swab samples. A high school in Neustrelitz, in northern Germany, has students self-administer tests twice a week, according to The New York Times. If they test positive, they stay home for two weeks; if they test negative, they wear a green sticker.

China Daily/ReutersHospital medical workers collect swabs from high school teachers for COVID-19 testing at a school, in Yichang, China, April 27, 2020.Hospital medical workers collect swabs from high school teachers for COVID-19 testing at a school, in Yichang, China, April 27, 2020.China Daily/Reuters

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