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WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan wants schools to reopen

August 11, 2020

The chief scientist of World Health Organisation (WHO) Soumya Swaminathan has said that states should reopen schools so that learning and overall health of the children are not affected. In the absence of a vaccine, states should test more and isolate COVID-19 patients.

In an interview to The Times of India, Swaminathan stated that disruptions to instructional time in the classroom can have a severe impact on a child’s ability to learn. She added, “The impact can be worse when the poor and marginalised children are out of school for long. They may not have facilities to access online education and many may not return to schools if they don’t restart.”

Speaking on how schools can reopen amid the growing number of Covid-19 cases, she said it a tough task adding that, “Preparation for reopening must start well in advance. Most government now have improved strategies to tract, test and isolate Covid patients. We must continue to make use of these tools. Initially, schools should open in low incidence districts with staggered timings.”

Meanwhile, the Centre has framed a plan to reopen schools and other educational institutions in a phase-wise manner between September 1 and November 14. The plan have been discussed by the group of secretaries attached to the Group of Ministers on Covid-19 management, headed by health minister Harsh Vardhan.

The decision is likely to be notified as part of the final unlock guidelines to be issued by the end of August 31. Sources said the final decision would be left to the state governments on how and when to bring back students to the classrooms. Broad standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be issued for schools and educational institutions. 

Source: Odisha Bytes

Read: Suggested guidelines for reopening of schools by state govt representatives

Also read: HRD ministry begins consultations on reopening schools

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