The World Health Organization said on Friday that since children and adolescents are “not primary drivers of the pandemic” school closures may be considered as “a last resort” to control any large outbreak.

“The summer months offer a valuable window of opportunity for governments to put in place the right set of measures that will help keep infection rates down and avoid resorting to school closures,” Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, said in a statement issued jointly by UNICEF and UNESCO.

Kluge, who has repeatedly called for countries in the WHO’s European Region to address dropout rates and health effects linked to remote learning, said that closing schools have been shown to have harmful effects on the health, well-being and educational outcomes of children. “We can’t allow the pandemic to rob children of their education and development,” he said.

 

New recommendations published by the European Technical Advisory Group that serves the WHO European region suggest that testing should be prioritised for symptomatic children “with acute respiratory infection of any severity.” Asymptomatic close contacts of Covid cases should also be considered for testing, the WHO said. Routine temperature or symptom checking, however, is not recommended.

The WHO also advised that children with pre-existing health conditions should not “routinely be excluded from on-site schooling, but rather be assessed individually for their specific risk.”

The brief mentions that while vaccination strategies should consider prioritizing teachers and school staff, children who have not been vaccinated should not be barred from attending school or participating in after-school activities.

The WHO’s European Region spans 53 countries and territories and includes several in Central Asia.

From : pk.mashable.com

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