The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s child rights activists has demanded that all government and private schools should not be reopen unless key measures issued by World Health Organization (WHO) are in place to stop the spread of corona-virus.
Precautions are necessary to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 in school settings; however, care must also be taken to avoid stigmatizing students and staff who may have been exposed to the virus.
Qamar Naseem Program Coordinator Blue Veins Said that “ Deciding to close, partially close or reopen schools should be guided by a risk-based approach to maximize the educational and health benefit for students, teachers, staff, and the wider community, and help prevent a new outbreak of COVID-19 in the community”. He added that “other countries which has been preceded by substantial investment in measures such as additional washing facilities to promote safety”.
Civil Society Activists stated that reopening of schools has clear benefits for children’s education and mental health but scientists disagree about the risks.
However, we also recognize that the decision of when to re-open our schools is a careful balance and that it is vital for our young people to get back into the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so. The current climate is likely to disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged in society; therefore, it is vital that the government also considers innovative ways to help those who need it most.
Imran Takkar child rights activist said, “The crucial factor allowing school re-openings around the world has been the presence of well-functioning local test, trace, and isolate protocols. Inclusive and early collaboration between the school and the community is needed to develop and implement necessary measures. It will be important to maintain flexibility and modify approaches as needed and to ensure learning and sharing of good practices”.
It is important to mention that WHO and UNICEF have issued guidance on the prevention and control of COVID-19 in schools.
Factors to consider in a general health risk assessment include epidemiological factors, health system and public health capacities, community engagement and government capacity to sustain social and economic support to the most vulnerable.
Following basic principles can help keep students, teachers, and staff safe at school and help stop the
spread of this disease. Recommendations for healthy schools are:
• Sick students, teachers and other staff should not come to school.
• Schools should enforce regular hand washing with safe water and soap, alcohol rub/hand
sanitizer or chlorine solution and, at a minimum, daily disinfection and cleaning of school
• Schools should provide water, sanitation and waste management facilities and follow
environmental cleaning and decontamination procedures.
• Schools should promote social distancing (a term applied to certain actions that are taken to slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease, including limiting large groups of people coming together) Know the latest facts understand basic information۔