Nineteen months after COVID-19 Globally, the pandemic has forced schools to close, only half of schools worldwide have resumed teaching and learning in the classroom, while about 34 percent of schools rely on blended or hybrid learning, according to the COVID-19 Global Education Recovery Tracker.
The tracker was jointly created by Johns Hopkins University, the World Bank and UNICEF to help countries make decisions by tracking reopening and planning for COVID-19 recovery in over 200 countries.
According to monitored data, 80% of schools worldwide have regular classes. Of these, 54 percent have returned to full-time education, 34 percent rely on blended or blended learning, 10 percent continue distance learning, and 2 percent offer no training at all.
While the tracker noted that only 53% of countries prioritize teacher vaccination, the World Bank has recommended that countries no longer wait until their populations or school staff are fully vaccinated before reopening schools.
“To help rebuild education, teachers should prioritize vaccination where possible, while recognizing that there are ways to safely resume work without vaccination through adequate safety measures,” the World Bank’s Education Group said in a report.
“Considering that schools that have reopened around the world have been able to effectively reduce school transmission through simple and relatively cheap infection control strategies such as camouflage, ventilation and physical distancing, and given that ubiquitous vaccination coverage in most countries is not expected for many months, school closures until all staff are vaccinated has very little benefit in terms of reducing the risk of transmission, but potentially significant costs for children, ”it said.
The World Bank is committed to reopening schools and assessing the risks associated with further school closures around the world. “In countries where there were 36 to 44 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 1,000 population per week before reopening, reopening schools did not lead to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations even for six weeks thereafter.
In countries with higher hospital admissions rates before schools reopened, research results have not been conclusive as to whether reopening has led to an increase in COVID-related hospital admissions.
“Another study used differences in the start and end dates of summer and fall vacations across Germany and found that the closure of summer and fall vacations did not have a significant deterrent effect on the transmission of the virus among children or any significant secondary impact on adults.
“Likewise, other studies support the argument that school transmission generally follows community transmission trends rather than precedes or amplifies them,” he added.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic led to global school closures in more than 188 countries, leaving 1.6 billion children – 75 percent of enrolled students – out of school. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic spread domestically and between countries in early 2020, we knew very little about the virus: how it spreads, who would be hardest hit, and how to treat it.
To protect children and slow the transmission of disease, most governments have responded by closing schools. “A year later, we know a lot more about both the virus and the disease, as well as how to reduce the risk of transmission, and health authorities such as WHO are recommending school closures only as a last resort,” it said.
Citing data on low transmission of COVID-19 among children, the World Bank said data from population surveillance studies and contact tracing studies suggest that young children, especially those under 10 years of age, are significantly less susceptible than adults and adolescents. … to contracting COVID-19 and are much less likely to transmit the disease.
“Among children who do have COVID-19, serious illness and death are rare and are more common among children with other underlying medical conditions,” the report said.