1.When should schools reopen amid the Covid-19 pandemic?

  • Aren’t children prone to coronavirus?

  • What the WHO has said about reopening of schools?

  • Why can’t students be taught online?

UPSC Can list these Questions under

GS paper 2 ( Issues related to health, education and human resources)

What is the context about?

  • On May 10, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a set of considerations that countries may refer to when deciding whether to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • According to UNESCO, over 1.57 billion students have been affected by school closures in more than 190 countries during the pandemic.
  • Some countries in Europe have started lifting restrictions on their residents. Over a million children are scheduled to go to school in France, and in Germany, schools have been partially reopened for younger children.

Aren’t children prone to coronavirus?

  • Till now, the number of children infected with coronavirus to the proportion of adults around the world is small, as the disease is more prevalent in those aged more than 15 years.
  • Further, a study by researchers from the Southwest Medical University and Birth Defects Clinical Research Centre of Sichuan province, published in March, noted that the incubation in infected children was longer than in adults, which is approximately 6.5 days as compared to roughly 5.4 days in adults.

What the WHO has said about reopening of schools?

The WHO has advised that the decision to close, partially close or reopen schools should be guided by “risk-based” approaches that maximise the educational and health-benefits for students, teachers and the staff.

Therefore, decision-makers should consider the following when contemplating opening schools:

  1. The current understanding of COVID-19 transmission and children
  2. Local situation of the areas where schools are located
  3. School setting and the ability to maintain COVID-19 prevention and control measures

Why can’t students be taught online?

  • Many schools across the world shifted to online teaching during the pandemic, including in India, where the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) asked educational institutions to complete the academic year through online classes.
  • However, not everyone has equal access to digital resources required to take part in online learning, especially in a country like India, where broadband penetration is low.
  • Further, teachers and students need to be made aware and provided some sort of training to familiarise themselves with digital workflows.