COVID-19: WHO releases fresh guidelines for school reopening

Schools should only close as a last resort while research is under way into whether the new coronavirus variants affect children differently, the World Health Organisation said Wednesday .
The debate on shutting schools during the Covid- 19 pandemic has been revived by the emergence of more contagious virus mutations.
The WHO said research had begun looking at the factors that may put children at risk , the long -term health effects on those infected , and the impact of new variants of SARS - CoV - 2 , the virus that causes Covid -19 disease .

“ The arrival in late 2020 of new more transmissible variants of SARS -CoV -2 requires additional analysis by sex and age to measure how and if the new variants impact children differently, ” it said.
“ If it is found that children are more affected , public health social measures may need to be adapted .”
Here is a summary of the WHO ’s special focus on Covid- 19 ’s impact on children and schools , issued Wednesday :
– WHO ’ s conclusions –
– “ School closure should be implemented as a last resort , be temporary and only at a local level in areas with intense transmission .”
– Authorities should check for new guidance, “ particularly with respect to the appearance of new and possibly more transmissible variants ” .

– In low -transmission areas, schools are unlikely to drive infection ; in areas with widespread transmission , protective measures in schools are essential .
– Schools need outbreak prevention and management plans, including on ventilation, hand and surface cleaning , communication with parents, mask use and physical distancing .
– Children aged 12 and older “ should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults” . Physical distancing can be achieved by limiting class sizes , alternating shifts and limiting mixing of classes .

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