No access to classrooms for 320 million school children – UNESCO

38 essential actions for schools reopening launched by WHO

Miguela Xuereb

320 million school children around the world did not have access to their classrooms during 2020. According to data collected by UNESCO, an increase of nearly 90 million was noted.

Prolonged school closures are presenting an unprecedented challenge to children’s education, health and well-being. UNESCO data shows that in some places, children have been out of school for nine months or more.

Stephania Dimech Sant, Richmond Foundation CEO, during a recent press conference has also mentioned how Covid-19 left its mark on young people in Malta.

“Young people were severely affected by social isolation, and experienced loneliness when they were not meeting their friends” she said referring to the data obtained from a national study carried out during the pandemic and how it influenced our lifestyle.

Over 2,900 called for support during the pandemic
Over 2,900 called for support during the pandemic

To help curb closure of educational facilities as much as possible, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a new checklist to support schools in re-opening and in preparing for resurgences of COVID-19 and similar public health crises.

The list constitutes of 38 essential actions to be considered by different stakeholders as they work together to agree school reopening plans.

The checklist is aligned with, and builds upon, existing COVID-19-related WHO guidelines and is structured around protective measures related to: 1) hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; 2) physical distancing; 3) use of masks in schools; 4) environmental cleaning and ventilation; and 5) respecting procedures for isolation of all people with symptoms.

The checklist is designed to support policy-makers, staff and officials from the education and health sectors, local authorities, school principals/leaders and administrators, teachers’ unions, community leaders, school staff, teachers, parents and caregivers.

The document may be downloaded by clicking here.