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L’X prepares for an atypical start of the new academic year

École Polytechnique, which has ensured operational continuity across all its missions during the lockdown, is preparing for the new academic year.

Le Grand Hall de l'Ecole polytechnique

Thanks to the lockdown lifting and the gradual return to normal in everyday life, the School has been able to ramp up its activity resumption plan and the arrangement s for organizing its day to day operations and tuition from autumn 2020 are taking shape.

If hgher education institutions will not be hosting any students until the start of term in September, a shared objective is to make sure that all departments are fully operational by the start of the academic year, which will be handled in compliance with social distancing rules

The start dates of each degree course have been defined to facilitate logistical (accommodation) and academic (enrollment and preparation) organization for the arrival of students on campus, according to the calendar enclosed. Students will be invited to return to campus on the first day of their course. Students who are unable to do so (border closures, lockdown, or quarantine restrictions) will be invited to contact their course director in order to define distance-learning arrangements for the start of the new academic year. The traditional induction days will probably not be held on-site, but online information sessions will be offered to students and their parents.

Concerning international mobility, given the uncertainties about the reopening of borders, students residing abroad (especially outside the Schengen area) are invited to contact BasiX. The arrangements for individual arrivals will depend on border reopening dates and the time required to obtain a visa. Guidance videos and/or webinars (on subjects such as residence permits, banking, top-up health insurance, etc.) will be available. The integration of students into the class of X2020 will begin in October, after senior staff in the Personal Development and Military Training Department return to campus. Tuition fees are kept at the same level to maintain the quality of education for all.

The pedagogical approach will be adapted to enable compliance with physical distancing rules, while promoting optimal student/teacher interaction. A balance will be sought between face-to-face and distance-learning provision: classes held in lecture theaters will preferably be taught online, while tutorials and small-class sessions will be held face-to-face in small groups. Innovative pedagogical models are also being considered in conjunction with the e-learning unit with a view to adopting an alternative pedagogical approach that promotes learning and interaction while maintaining health precautions. Physical distancing will be maintained in classrooms, which will be disinfected (if the health measures remain in place). Certain courses (sport, language courses, HSS) will be organized according to specific arrangements to be decided, which will be highly dependent on the health context. Students who are unable to travel to the campus will benefit from distance-learning provision that, although limited, will allow them to validate their credits. Military activities will be governed by the rules currently applicable to the armed forces (health rules for La Courtine camp, Personal Development and Military Training periods), and applicable to all French officer cadets (EOX).

For the evaluation of knowledge, continuous assessment will be favored for scientific courses. Special arrangements for face-to-face examinations will be defined for ranking exams in the Engineering program. A system for monitoring the attendance and progress of students, both present on campus and working remotely, will be implemented by professors and the e-learning unit.

Returning to a livelier campus is a shared goal that will need to comply with the health rules in force in September. The activities of students and staff – and student and professional life in general – will be encouraged on campus, with the necessary adaptations, to facilitate the return to a fulfilling social life and a vibrant campus.