7 May, 2020

UNICEF guidelines for safe reopening of schools

UNESCO, UNICEF, WFP and World Bank today issued new guidelines on the safe reopening of schools after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access it here: UNICEF guidelines for safe reopening of schools

The guidelines offer practical advice to the governments and local authorities on how to keep children safe when they return to school. Schools must look at how they can reopen better – with improved learning and more comprehensive support for children at the school including health, nutrition, psychosocial support and water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

The guidelines include:

  • Policy reform:  Policy implications address all dimensions of the guidelines, including clear policies for school opening and closure during public health emergencies, reforms needed to expand equitable access for marginalised and out of school children as well as strengthen and standardize remote learning practices.
  • Financing requirements:  Address the impact of COVID-19 on education and invest in strengthening education systems for recovery and resilience.
  • Safe operations:  Ensure conditions that reduce disease transmission, safeguard essential services and supplies and promote healthy behaviour. This includes access to soap and clean water for safe handwashing, procedures on when staff or students feel unwell, protocols on social distancing and good hygiene practices.
  • Compensating learning:  Focus on practices that compensate for lost instructional time, strengthen pedagogy and build on hybrid learning models such as integrating approaches in remote and distance education. This must include knowledge on disease transmission and prevention.
  • Wellness and protection:  Expand the focus on students' well-being and reinforce the protection of children through enhanced referral mechanisms and the provision of essential school-based services including healthcare and school feeding.
  • Reaching the most marginalised:  Adapt school opening policies and practices to expand access to marginalised groups such as previously out-of-school children, displaced and migrant children and minorities. Diversify critical communications and outreach by making them available in relevant languages and in accessible formats.

Once schools begin to reopen, the priority becomes reintegrating students into school settings safely and in ways that allow learning to pick up again, especially for those who suffered the biggest learning losses.



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