Unicef: “No excuses, keep schools open”

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The Executive Director of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), Henrietta Fore, made a statement in defense of opening schools around the world. According to the entity, it is estimated that 616 million children are currently affected by the total or partial closure of educational institutions.

Henrietta stressed that governments should prioritize the recovery of education and called for support for the poorest. “We need bold actions to allow all children to return to school. This includes providing comprehensive support with a particular focus on vulnerable children in each community, such as recovery classes, mental health and nutrition support, protection and other essential services.”

She even advocated that governments vaccinate school officials immediately. “Teachers and school staff must be fully supported and prioritized to receive Covid-19 vaccines once frontline healthcare workers and high-risk populations are vaccinated,” he said.

The executive director also called on governments not to make vaccinating children a prerequisite for face-to-face teaching. “By conditioning access to face-to-face education to vaccination against Covid-19, there is a risk of denying children access to education and increasing inequalities”.

Check out the statement below:

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in 27 janeiro 2022

“As the Omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to spread across the world, we urge governments to do everything in their power to prevent children’s education from being further disrupted.

To avoid a teaching catastrophe and get children back on the learning path, Unicef ​​recommends the following:

Keep schools open. An estimated 616 million children are currently affected by the total or partial closure of schools. We know that mitigation measures help keep schools open. We also know that investments in digital connectivity can help ensure that no child is left behind. We need bold actions to allow all children to return to school. This includes providing comprehensive support with a particular focus on vulnerable children in each community, such as recovery classes, mental health and nutrition support, protection and other essential services.

Vaccinate teachers and school staff immediately. Teachers and school staff must be fully supported and prioritized to receive Covid-19 vaccines once frontline healthcare workers and high-risk populations are vaccinated.

Unicef ​​supports vaccinating children as soon as vaccines are available to them and when priority groups are fully protected. Do not make vaccination a prerequisite for face-to-face teaching. By conditioning access to face-to-face education to vaccination against Covid-19, there is a risk of denying children access to education and increasing inequalities. In line with WHO recommendations, Unicef ​​recommends keeping schools open and ensuring that countries’ Covid-19 control strategies facilitate children’s participation in education and other aspects of social life, even without vaccinating children and teenagers.

In crisis conditions, there are always tough decisions, and we recognize the unprecedented challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic is creating for school systems around the world. But the stakes are very high. We must collectively do everything we can to keep children in school.”

Reference: CNN Brasil

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