An unusual start to the academic year at IFP School

The School is beginning an exceptional academic year whereby strict health measures and educational continuity sit side by side.

The Rueil-Malmaison campus opened its doors again on Tuesday 1st September. Almost 300 new students from the class of 2021 arrived at the School, which had closed its doors and switched to remote teaching on 16 March due to the health crisis.

Just 54 international students were unable to be present, as a result of travel restrictions. Nevertheless, they were able to take part in the first day’s events remotely, thanks to Microsoft Teams and Zoom video conferencing systems (now only twenty or so students remain outside France).

New health rules

Because of Covid-19, a strict health protocol was put in place for the start of the new academic year: compulsory wearing of masks both indoors and out for everybody present on campus; frequent hand washing; social distancing; reorganization of classrooms. In order to limit student mixing, IFP School also revised the organization of induction week, inviting students to discover the School and its environment via a virtual tour, as well as a fun sports challenge (and there was nothing virtual about the latter!).

When they arrived on campus, students were given two reusable IFP School masks.

Students arrive at IFP School for the start of the academic year.


Welcome speech given by Christine Travers


Students from the class of 2021 returned to the classroom on Tuesday 1st September while observing the protective measures in place. They heard a welcome speech by Christine Travers, Dean of IFP School, which was broadcast live to several of the School's lecture halls and beyond for those who were unable to be present on-site.

In order to apply social distancing measures, students were spread between five lecture halls, leaving every other seat vacant.

The day began with a welcome speech delivered by Christine Travers, Dean of IFP School.

“We are delighted to be able to welcome you here physically. Our priority is to provide you with a safe environment so that you can take full advantage of this year with us,” she declared.

She reiterated the importance of observing the protective measures in place and encouraged students to embrace the School’s values: openness, responsibility and solidarity.

“This year, solidarity means protecting others,” she emphasized.

Given the uncertainties generated by the health crisis, Christine Travers was keen to reassure students, underlining the fact that:

“the energy and powertrain sectors will be different but they will be no less exciting. They will have to overcome fresh challenges, particularly in terms of the environment and sustainability, and these challenges will be yours.”

Hybrid teaching

This year, programs have been structured around a hybrid approach, combining classroom presence with strict adherence to protective measures and distance learning, particularly for those students who have been unable to travel to the School.

Online classes are synchronous, broadcast live, but are also recorded and delivered asynchronously. This format is particularly aimed at international students, who have been unable to travel to France and are located in different time zones. All classrooms are now equipped with video cameras and microphones.

Building on the experience of distance learning during lockdown, IFP School was keen to reinforce the support provided to students.
It has launched the study buddies initiative to encourage students present on campus to help those studying remotely.

Classroom : on-site and distance learning


IT Workstations separated by a partition


The IFP School students from the class of 2021 discovered a raft of innovations on the first day of the new academic year. In line with social distancing rules, desks are spaced at least a meter apart and in computer rooms each workstation is separated by a partition.

For the start of the new academic year, the School also introduced the following measures:

  • workstations in computer rooms are separated by a high acrylic glass partition;
  • individual desks are spaced at least a meter apart. In lecture halls, every other seat is left vacant;
  • each student is given an allocated seat; his or her desk is identified with a named sticker;
  • every classroom is equipped with a disinfection kit containing hand gel, wipes and virucidal spray to clean surfaces.

For the time being, the start of the academic year has gone smoothly for IFP School’s new students, who are delighted to start their courses.

“Everything has been extremely well organized!” observes Rana Benbella Nafea, an Egyptian student enrolled on the Petroleum Geosciences program.

“I was amazed to see how meticulous the School’s staff have been in applying the health measures, enabling us to actually attend classes in person,” she continues.

Author of the article: Meyling Siu