The World Health Organisation and European officials on Monday said that Children in Europe and around the world must return to school under safe conditions during the pandemic.
The agency held an online conference with its European regional office and representatives of its 53 member states to discuss ways to safeguard children as schools across the continent reopen after lock downs.
According to Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza, a Co-host of the conference;
“The right to health and the right to education must go hand in hand”
“The safe reopening of schools is the real priority for the coming weeks,”
“the pandemic had created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries.”
He is also of the opinion that “children had largely been spared from the direct health effects of the virus,” school closures had affected their “mental health and social development” and carried “the risk and impact of being in an abusive home environment.”
Children living in poor conditions and those with disabilities were especially hard-hit when schools were closed, the statement said. Ensuring proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, using masks where appropriate and staying home if sick are among measures that could help reduce the risk of infection. Online learning would also likely be necessary in future due to temporary school closures or to ensure physical distancing.