The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) today issued on Tuesday new guidance to help protect children and schools from transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
The guidance provides critical considerations and practical checklists to keep schools safe. It also advises national and local authorities on how to adapt and implement emergency plans for educational facilities.
In case of school closures, the guidance includes recommendations to mitigate against the possible negative impacts on children’s learning and wellbeing.
“This means having solid plans in place to ensure the continuity of learning, including remote learning options such as online education strategies and radio broadcasts of academic content, and access to essential services for all children. These plans should also include necessary steps for the eventual safe reopening of schools,” the guidance says.
In places where schools remain open, the guidance calls to make sure that children and their families remain protected and informed. It includes recommendations to provide children with information about how to protect themselves; promote best handwashing and hygiene practices and provide hygiene supplies; clean and disinfect school buildings, especially water and sanitation facilities.
The UNICEF also urges schools – whether open or helping students through remote learning – to provide students with holistic support.
“Schools should provide children with vital information on handwashing and other measures to protect themselves and their families; facilitate mental health support; and help to prevent stigma and discrimination by encouraging students to be kind to each other and avoid stereotypes when talking about the virus.
The new guidance also offers helpful tips and checklists for parents and caregivers, as well as children and students themselves.
The tips include monitoring children’s health and keeping them home from school if they are ill; encouraging children to ask questions and express their concerns; and Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose.
Source: Al-Manar Website Correspondent in UN Office Geneva Ahmad Hajj Ali