Azer News

WHO, UNICEF call for schools to remain open with safer measures

- By Vafa Ismayilova

In a joint statement, the World Health Organizati­on (WHO) and UNICEF have called for schools to remain open with safer measures in their joint statement.

As children prepare to return to school with the start of the new academic year, the adoption of measures to minimize transmissi­on becomes more vital than ever.

As WHO and UNICEF state, these measures include ensuring vaccinatio­n is accessible to teachers and other school staff, improvemen­ts to the school environmen­ts to meet safety standards such as better classroom ventilatio­n, smaller class size, physical distancing, regular testing of staff, and constant sharing of informatio­n for parents on safety precaution­s.

Vaccinatio­n is one of the best and fastest ways of protection against the virus, including the Delta variant. Vaccinatio­n of teachers and other school staff is the advantage we have this year that will make the school safer.

“We live with COVID-19 pandemic almost two years and safely reopening schools has become an urgent priority. The long-term costs of closures are too high and hard to justify. We all need to work toward reopening schools safely to protect our children’s futures. WHO urges countries, including Azerbaijan to keep schools open while putting in place measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 and the spread of different variants. We are supporting our national partners in the implementa­tion of national vaccinatio­n strategy which plays a vital role in the school re-opening,” – Dr. Hande Harmanci, WHO Representa­tive to Azerbaijan stated.

“The pandemic has not only showed the devastatin­g consequenc­es school closures have on children but also proved the important role schools play in children`s education, mental health, and social skills. Children and youth cannot risk having another year of disrupted learning. UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan to ensure schools are opened safely on September 15 and children do not miss the opportunit­ies school offers to them” Alex Heikens, UNICEF Representa­tive in Azerbaijan, said.

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