What should be considered when deciding whether to re-open schools or keep them open?:WHO

NEW DELHI: Deciding to close, partially close, or reopen schools should be guided by a risk-based approach, to maximize the educational, well-being, and health benefit for students, teachers, staff, and the wider community, and help prevent a new outbreak of COVID-19 in the community.

Several elements should be assessed in deciding to re-open schools or keep them open:

  • The epidemiology of COVID-19 at the local level: This may vary from one place to another within a country

  • Benefits and risks: what are the likely benefits and risks to children and staff of open schools? Including consideration of:

  • Transmission intensity in the area where the school operates: No cases, sporadic transmission; clusters transmission or community transmission

  • The overall impact of school closures on education, general health and wellbeing; and on vulnerable and marginalized populations (e.g. girls, displaced or disabled)

  • Effectiveness of remote learning strategies

  • Detection and response: Are the local health authorities able to act quickly?

  • The capacity of schools/educational institutions to operate safely

  • Collaboration and coordination: Is the school collaborating with local public health authorities?

  • The range of other public health measures being implemented outside school

Reference: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-schools

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