As millions of school children return to school across the European Region, WHO Regional Office for Europe and UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office call for schools to stay open and made safer by adopting measures to minimise transmission of the virus, IPN reports, quoting the UNICEF Office in the Republic of Moldova.
These measures include offering teachers and other school staff the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the target population groups in national vaccination plans, while ensuring vaccination of vulnerable populations. In addition, children aged 12 years and above who have underlying medical conditions that significantly increases their risk for put that at greater risk of severe COVID-19 disease must be vaccinated; improvements to the school environment through better classroom ventilation, smaller class sizes where possible, physical distancing and regular testing of children and staff, are other important actions, as specialists demand.
“It is vital that classroom-based learning continues uninterrupted across the European Region. This is of paramount importance for children’s education, mental health and social skills,” said Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Vaccination is our best line of defence against the virus, and for the pandemic to end we must rapidly scale up vaccinations fairly in all countries. We must also continue to follow the public health and social measures we know work, including testing, sequencing, tracing, isolation and quarantine.”