While Argentina is heading to close the school year with practically no face-to-face classes, the World Health Organization (WHO) defended this Thursday the need to keep schools open during the pandemic of coronavirus and considers that confinement can be avoided if protection measures are increased.
“We must ensure education for our children “, said the director for Europe of the WHO, Hans Kluge, highlighting that children and adolescents are not the main drivers of contagion and that the closure of schools is not effective.
Kluge also noted that lockdowns are “a waste of resources” and that they cause many side effects, such as damage to mental health or increased gender violence, and that if the use of masks exceeds 90% among people, they would not be necessary.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in Argentina, in March, the Government decided to close the schools and, despite the claim that grew over the months, it remained firm in the decision to “take care of health” above the possibility that the boys retake the face-to-face classes.
Just a few weeks ago it began to enable non-curricular activities in outdoor spaces, a fact that has already been implemented in the City of Buenos Aires and in some parts of the Province.
In the interior of the country, some provinces tried to return to the normal development of face-to-face classes after the winter holidays, such as San Juan, but quickly backed down due to the appearance of infections.
Unicef warns for “the lost generation”
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned this Thursday in a new report on the increasing consequences for children as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
While symptoms among infected children remain mild, the number of infections in this population group is increasing and the long-term impact on the education, nutrition and well-being of an entire generation of children and young people can alter their lives. lives, said the report titled “How to avoid a generation lost to COVID “.
Posted before World Children’s Day, held on Friday, is the first UNICEF report to comprehensively describe the dire and escalating consequences for children as the pandemic moves into a second year.
“Disruptions to key services and rising poverty rates pose the greatest threat to children. The longer the crisis (COVID-19) persists, the more profound will be its impact on the education, health, nutrition and well-being of children. The future of an entire generation is at risk, “said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
Regarding school closings, the report says that while children can transmit the virus to each other and to older age groups, there is strong evidence that, with basic safety measures in place, the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the cost of closing them.
“Schools are not the main driver of community transmission, and children are more likely to contract the virus outside of the school setting, “the report emphasized.
Using new data from UNICEF surveys in 140 countries, the report warned that COVID-19-related disruptions to critical health and social services, including basic nutrition, routine vaccinations, outpatient care for childhood infectious diseases, Maternal health services and home visits by social workers pose the most serious threats to children.
UNICEF calls on its partners and governments to ensure basic education for children, guarantee and increase their access to nutrition, clean water, sanitation and basic mental and physical health services (including vaccines), curb increasing child poverty and ensuring an inclusive recovery for all.
The agency also advocated for redoubling efforts to protect and support children and their families living in situations of conflict, disaster, and displacement.
“This World Children’s Day, we ask governments, partners and the private sector to listen to children and prioritize their needs,” Fore said. “As we all reimagine the future and look to a post-pandemic world, children must come first.”
With information from agencies.