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Educação / 15/07/2021

ONU NEWS

UN calls for the reopening of schools and speaks of 'catastrophe' for the current generation of young people

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UN calls for the reopening of schools and speaks of 'catastrophe' for the current generation of young people


Agencies defend that measure is immediate and safe to avoid a catastrophe

The UN (United Nations) and two of its agencies, Unesco and UNICEF, demand governments around the world for the safe reopening of schools, to prevent a “catastrophe” hitting the current generation of students. Primary and secondary schools remain closed in 19 countries as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, affecting more than 156 million students. The entities emphasize that educational centers must be “the last to close and the first to reopen”.

In a video, the representative of Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in Brazil, Marlova Noleto, said that it is time to review curricula. She advocates joining efforts to compensate for the loss of a year and a half due to actions to stop the pandemic.

“At this moment, there needs to be great communication between health services, epidemiological surveillance, the educational area, teachers, families and the entire school community so that, together, we can plan the safe reopening of schools. We also know that our students often have their only meal of the day in schools and have an environment of protection and care,” she said.

The UN understands that there were efforts to limit the transmission of the virus, but that governments have kept schools closed for prolonged periods, even when the epidemiological situation does not justify it. In “many cases, schools were closed, while bars and restaurants remained open,” says a statement issued by the agencies.

Involvement

For the Executive Director of Unicef, Henrietta Fore, and the Director General of Unesco, Audrey Azoulay, the losses that children and young people will suffer for not attending school can never be recovered.

Effects range loss of learning, mental distress, exposure to violence and abuse, missed school meals and vaccinations, or reduced development of social skills. Such effects will be felt in academic performance and children's social involvement, as well as in physical and mental health.

Agencies point out that children in resource-poor settings are often the most affected because they lack access to remote learning tools. The other group is the younger ones, which are still in “important stages of development”.

The losses to parents and guardians are equally heavy. Keeping children at home often forces them to leave their jobs, especially in countries with no or limited family leave policy.

Streaming

For agency heads, cases cannot be expected to go to zero. They point out that there is "clear evidence that primary and secondary schools are not among the main transmission factors."

The entities argue that the risk of transmission in schools can be managed with adequate mitigation strategies in most places. The basis for the decision to open or close schools should be “a risk analysis and epidemiological considerations in the communities” they are located.

Addressing the issue of immunization challenges associated with the reopening of schools, the statement points out that "you cannot expect all teachers and students to be vaccinated."

The argument is that, with the global lack of vaccines plaguing low- and middle-income countries, "vaccination of frontline workers and those most at risk of serious illness and death will remain a priority."


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