IFRC, UNICEF and WHO issue guidance to protect children from COVID-19 in School

IFRC, UNICEF and WHO issue guidance

International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), UNICEF and the World Health
Organization (WHO) issued new guidance, on 10th March 2020, to help protect
children and schools from transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

the event of school closures, the guidance includes recommendations
to mitigate against the possible negative impacts on children’s learning and

are encouraged to have solid plans in place to ensure the continuity of
learning, including remote learning options such as online education strategies
and radio broadcasts of academic content, and access to essential services for
all children. These plans should also include necessary steps for the eventual
safe reopening of schools.

Schools which remain open, should make sure that children and their
families remain protected and informed, the guidance calls for:

  • Providing children with information about how to protect
  • Promoting best handwashing and hygiene practices and providing
    hygiene supplies.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting school buildings, especially water
    and sanitation facilities; and
  • Increasing airflow and ventilation.
  • The guidance, while specific to countries that have already
    confirmed the transmission of COVID-19, is still relevant in all other

Education can encourage students to become advocates for disease
prevention and control at home, in school, and in their community
by talking to others
about how to prevent the spread of viruses. Maintaining safe school operations
or reopening schools after a closure, requires many considerations, but if done
well, can promote public health.

example, safe school guidelines implemented in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone
during the outbreak of Ebola virus disease from 2014 to 2016 helped prevent
school-based transmissions of the virus.

is urging schools – whether open or helping students through remote learning –
to provide students with holistic support. Schools should provide children with
vital information on handwashing and other measures to protect themselves and
their families; facilitate mental health support; and help to prevent stigma
and discrimination by encouraging students to be kind to each other and avoid
stereotypes when talking about the virus.

new guidance also offers helpful tips and checklists for parents and
caregivers, as well as children and students themselves. These actions include:

  • Monitoring children’s health and keeping them home from
    school if they are ill.
  • Encouraging children to ask questions and express their
    concerns; and
  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoid
    touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose.

Note: Hand-washing is always an effective tool
to prevent coming into contact with any microbial agent.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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