All schools in Europe and Central Asia must be open and protected against COVID-19

Copenhagen / Geneva, 30 August – As millions of children return to school in European regions where highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 delta variations predominate, the WHO Regional Office for Europe and UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia are recommending measures to reduce virus transmission. To keep schools open and keep them safe.

As part of the national immunization plan, these measures include vaccinating both the target group teachers and other school staff and the vulnerable group for COVID-19. Also, children 12 years of age or older should be vaccinated for a medical condition that significantly increases their risk of contracting COVID-19. Good ventilation in the classroom and fewer students if possible, etc. Measures need to be taken to improve the school environment. Other important measures are physical distance and regular examination of children and staff.

“The epidemic has disrupted education as never before. Therefore, it is vital to continue face-to-face education in the European region. WHO Regional Director for Europe. Hans Henry P. Kluge, “School; It plays a key role in helping our children become happy and productive members of society and is important for their education, mental health and social skills. “

“It will take some time for our epidemic to recede, but in the meantime, our main goal should be to educate children safely in a physical school environment. We must not deprive them of the opportunity they deserve. We encourage all countries to take action to keep schools open and to reduce the risk of Covid-19 and its spread. ”

Expanding the scope of vaccination for Delta variant resistance

With the start of the school year this year, the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 delta variant has become an additional concern. The increased incidence of COVID-19 in the community has also significantly increased the risk of infection in schools. So we all need to take necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

The data clearly show that taking the full COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the risk of serious illness and death. So, when asked to be vaccinated, please do so and make sure you have received all the doses of your vaccine.

Dr. Hans Henry P. Cluj, “Our best line for preventing the virus is vaccines. Therefore, it is important that we support vaccine production and dosage sharing to end the epidemic. To protect the most vulnerable people in the world, we must quickly increase vaccination in all countries in a fair way. Testing, Priority, Monitoring, Isolation and Quarantine etc. “We must implement public health and social measures that we know of,” he said.

It is the responsibility of the whole community to make schools safe

Milena Marik, a high school math teacher in Belgrade, Serbia, who took all the vaccines against COVID-19, said: “The words ‘COVID-19’ and ‘online education’ have left their mark on our lives for almost two years. . When the epidemic began, the Serbian school system quickly adapted.

“But there was a lack of continuity, socialization, collaboration, sharing ideas in real time, communication without technology among the students. I know that the only way to get out of this situation is if we continue to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus and to vaccinate all educators. ”

“The epidemic is not over yet,” said Philip Corey, UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. It is our responsibility to ensure that schools are open throughout the region. Children and young people cannot miss another school year. Vaccines and immunizations will help prevent the epidemic from returning to the darkest days, when people were forced to stay at home and children’s education was disrupted, “he said.

“Children have been the silent victims of the epidemic and the groups most affected by it have been the most marginalized. Even before COVID-19, the weakest children in the region could not go to school and those who could go to school could not learn at the same level as their classmates.

“The school is much more than a building. It is a place of learning, faith and play in the heart of our society. When school is closed, children may experience learning, hanging out with friends, and violence at home. The epidemic has already exacerbated an unacceptable situation. We must ensure that schools reopen and remain safe. “

Expert advice

WHO, UNICEF and UNESCO supported eight expert recommendations to keep schools open and safe. These recommendations have been made by the WHO European Technical Advisory Group so that education can continue during COVID-19. The measures recommended for implementation by the 53 member states of the WHO European Region are as follows:

  1. Schools should be at the end and between the first opening
  2. A testing strategy should be implemented.
  3. Effective risk reduction measures should be implemented.
  4. Children need to be protected mentally and socially.
  5. The most vulnerable and excluded children need to be protected.
  6. The school environment needs to be improved.
  7. Children and young people also need to be involved in the decision-making process.
  8. A vaccination strategy should be implemented to keep children in school.

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