In order to keep students, teachers and their families safe at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO technical officer for COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said many countries have already put in place preventive measures to keep schools safely open.
And Dr. Maria added in episode No. 55 of the “Science in Five” program, presented by Vismita Gupta Smith, and broadcast by the World Health Organization on her accounts on social media, that the UN gives priority to protecting societies and trying to reduce transmission of infection in them, as much as possible, and because the individuals who They work in those schools and live in the communities, they fall under the classification of priority groups.
Maria pointed out that the global organization also aims to ensure that there are good plans and systems that are strictly implemented within the school system so that the health of students and staff can be monitored, explaining that the plans should provide the opportunity to detect any cases of infection and ensure that sick children stay at home, with The necessity of having good communication with the students themselves, the faculty members as well as the parents, in order to be able to direct them what to do if the student is unwell or if the teacher is ill and to ensure the effectiveness and tightness of the system being implemented within the schools to reduce the chance of the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Dr. Maria explained that the plans also include disinfection and sterilization procedures, improving ventilation, adherence to physical distancing controls and wearing protective masks, in addition to that if there are vaccines available in the regions, it should be ensured that priority groups living in those communities are vaccinated.
Dr. Maria pointed out that it is really important that students have continuity in education along with ensuring their safety, explaining that it is about making a plan, that is, first of all, if students feel unwell, they are advised to stay at home and be looked after by a parent or guardian It’s at home.
And if there are cases in the school, they need to be discovered so they can get proper care. They can get tested and be given the appropriate care they need based on their symptoms. It is then recommended that there be contact tracing. So, if there is a positive case, as in the general community, what is done is to make sure that the chance of transmission of the virus from the infected person to others is prevented.
It is therefore important that the contacts of these children are identified and that these children are placed in quarantine for a certain number of days so that they do not have the opportunity to spread, if they have been infected. But these actions require detailed planning by the school. Good communication with the students themselves is required. In other words, the recommendations begin first with taking the necessary precautions to prevent infection and transmitting it to others, and then doing what is necessary to know what to do if students feel unwell or if an infection occurs.
Dr. Maria stressed the importance of receiving the vaccine when the opportunity is available, noting that although there is a shortage of vaccines around the world, and there is no appropriate justice in the distribution of vaccines, it is essential that the people most at risk get the vaccine first, which means Giving priority to the elderly, people with chronic conditions and workers in the health services sectors. But at the same time teachers are included in priority groups for vaccination.
With regard to how families of students and teachers keep themselves safe, Dr. Maria said it is really important that families also do everything they can to keep them and their loved ones safe, explaining that the World Health Organization recommends that it start first with prevention, adherence to precautionary measures and everything that can be done to reduce Exposure to this virus, by taking care to maintain physical distance and clean hands constantly and well, in addition to wearing protective masks in the correct way to cover the nose and mouth while avoiding being in crowded places and staying at home as much as possible, stressing that all these factors are important at home and in society. As well as at school.
What are the risks with young children
Dr Maria said that families should always remember that anyone can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, including children, and that children can transmit the virus to others, so it is really important for families to discuss what these risks are because they depend on the child’s age and what they can do in terms of keeping them safe.
She added that it would be difficult for young children to commit to wearing protective masks, for example, or to maintain a physical distance between them and their colleagues at all times, so it is important to have that open dialogue and talk about the risks, depending on the age of the children. But there is a lot that everyone can do to keep themselves safe from the youngest children to the oldest, and there is a role and responsibility for all members of society to reduce the possibility of the spread of COVID-19.