COVID-19

Webinar Strategies for School Health Promotion during COVID-19 – 30 September 2021

Webinar Strategies for School Health Promotion during COVID-19 – 30 September 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted schools all over the world. Schools in many countries closed in haste and had to create virtual learning opportunities for their students. The reopening of schools is taking place in various speeds and with different guidance at national and/or local level.

The UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education gathered the experiences and opinions of education and health professionals about  reopening schools safely and/or to keeping them open. The survey explored the public health measures that have been put in place in schools; communication of guidance at national and/or local level, and the facilitators or barriers to safe reopening. Nicola Gray (Affiliated researcher, UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education; Senior Lecturer, University of Huddersfield, UK) will provide a preview of the results of this survey on the safe reopening of schools during COVID-19. 

The WHO-Europe Technical Advisory Group for schooling during COVID-19 recommends that ‘the principles of health-promoting schools (HPS) are even more important in a pandemic’. However, moving from recognition of HPS values to putting these into practice is challenging. Veronica Velasco (Assistant professor, Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy) wrote a new document on School Health Promotion during COVID-19 for the Schools for Health in Europe network (SHE). The relevance of the HPS approach during the COVID-19 pandemic will be discussed and implementation strategies based on the HPS approach will be presented.

During this webinar the experts will explore the following questions:

  1. What are the experiences of education and health professionals around the world concerning the safe reopening of schools?
  2. Why is the HPS approach relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic and how can HPS be implemented?
  3. What can we learn to better prepare schools for future epidemics and disasters?

This webinar is organised by the Schools for Health in Europe Network Foundation (SHE), the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education, the University of Huddersfield and the University of Milano-Bicocca.

The webinar will take place on 30 September 2021 from 14.00 – 15.00 CEST.

Join the webinar. This webinar will also be broadcasted live on our YouTube channel.

More information

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Involve children and young people in assessing the impact of school closures on their wellbeing and developing strategies for post-COVID-19 schooling

Involve children and young people in assessing the impact of school closures on their wellbeing and developing strategies for post-COVID-19 schooling

Article published in MDPI on 5 September 2021

Nearly 200 countries have implemented school closures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Although these closures have seemed necessary, there have been serious concerns about their effects on the well-being of children and adolescents. To truly understand the impact of these closures on children’s and adolescent’s well-being, and their suggestions for the future, it is important to adopt new approaches to collecting data that will ensure the right of children and adolescents to be heard on issues that affect them.

Current methods of assessing the impacts of school closure are dominated by the collection of information about children and adolescents, mainly using existing wellbeing indicators and related questionnaire surveys. While these sources of information are important, they provide only a limited understanding of how children and adolescents have experienced school closure, especially if they have been produced using measures developed solely by adults. There is a need for information produced by children and adolescents themselves, which may need to go beyond existing theoretical frameworks of wellbeing that predate COVID-19.

By gathering information from children and adolescents, the authors of this paper[1] show that we can more effectively guide the development and evaluation of public health policies and identify solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of school closures, or to recognise and respond to any positive effects.

Read the article

[1] Paakkari, L., Jourdan, D., Inchley, J., & Torppa, M. (2021). The Impact of School Closure on Adolescents’ Wellbeing, and Steps toward to a New Normal : The Need for an Assessment Tool Update? Adolescents1(3), 360‑362. https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents1030027

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COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in transmission – second update

COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in transmission – second update

ECDC has recently published the report ‘COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in transmission – second update’, which revises our current understanding of the role that children play in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and the role of schools in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of this document is to provide an update on the knowledge surrounding the role of children in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the role of schools in the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing in particular on the experience in EU/EEA countries since the beginning of the pandemic.

Children of all ages are susceptible to COVID-19 and can transmit the disease. However, cases of COVID-19 in younger children do not appear to cause onward transmission as often as cases in older children and adults. Children aged between one and 18 years of age have much lower rates of hospitalisation and severe disease requiring intensive hospital care than other age groups.

Although school closures could contribute to a reduction in COVID-19 transmission as a measure of last resort, the closures in themselves are insufficient to prevent community transmission in the absence of other non-pharmaceutical interventions. Moreover, vaccination coverage is now also increasing. Given the continued risk of transmission among unvaccinated children, it is imperative that there is a high level of preparedness in educational systems for the school year 2021−2022.

By the time schools reopen for the new school year, children and adolescents will have become the age groups with the lowest rates of COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA). Therefore, in the absence of strict adherence to effective public health mitigation measures, concentrated circulation of COVID-19 is to be expected, including outbreaks in this age group.

For more information and access to the full report

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Third High-level Meeting on Schooling during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Third High-level Meeting on Schooling during the COVID-19 Pandemic

On 2 July 2021, the Third High-level Meeting on Schooling during the COVID-19 Pandemic was held, organized by WHO/Europe, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The WHO European Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic shared new recommendations with the best available evidence and expert advice on safe schooling during the pandemic.

Schooling and COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted schooling for millions of children and young people during the school year 2020–2021. After reopening schools in the autumn of 2020, rising infection rates in winter led to more stringent measures, including, in some areas, the closure of schools.

These measures have serious effects on the education, development, and social and mental well-being of children and adolescents – both in the short- and long-term. Children and adolescents in the WHO European Region have missed on average more than 30 weeks of schooling due to school closures.

This third high-level meeting followed previous meetings held in August and December 2020, and presented an updated version of the TAG recommendations, including updates on how to keep schools open, testing strategies in school settings, risk-mitigation measures and infection control, and vaccination strategies, among others.

In addition to sharing the updated recommendations, the meeting was meant to support countries in planning measures over the summer months, so as to minimize school disruptions in the academic year 2021–2022.

As a member of the TAG, Prof. Didier Jourdan contributed to the discussion by presenting the first results of the UNESCO Chair’s global survey on the safe reopening of schools.

More information about the event

Recommendations from the European Technical Advisory Group for schooling during COVID-19 (March 2021)

 

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Survey: How are we using participatory research to learn about children and young people’s perspectives during the COVID 19 pandemic?

Survey: How are we using participatory research to learn about children and young people’s perspectives during the COVID 19 pandemic?

In response to the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to participatory researchers around the world, researchers from the University of Melbourne and University College Dublin prepared a short survey, based on a focus group that was held during the ICPHR Virtual Annual Working Meeting 2020.  

The goal is to promote dialogue and shared learning on how researchers and practitioners are using participatory research to listen to children and young people’s perspectives during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what digital tools may help them facilitate their collaboration with child and young co-researchers.

Participating in this study requires you to answer a short online survey. The survey is available in English and Spanish (you can change the language using the button in the top right corner of the survey).

For more information about this study and to access the online survey, please use the following link: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/fk4i

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Global survey on the safe reopening of schools available in 6 languages

Global survey on the safe reopening of schools available in 6 languages

The global survey on the safe reopening of schools in now available in Arabic, English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. You are invited to complete the survey and to share the survey within your network. The aim of the survey is to gather the experiences and opinions of education and health professionals about the processes in place in their countries and territories to reopen schools safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to keep them open.

The survey explores the public health measures that have been put in place in schools; communication of guidance at national and/or local level, and the facilitators or barriers to safe reopening. The survey should take 10-20 minutes to complete. It is a follow-up of the survey which was conducted in May/June 2020.

The survey is conducted by the UNESCO Chair and WHO Collaborating Center in Global Health & Education with the support of its consortium partners from ASCD, CHAIN, Education InternationalEUPHA Child and Adolescent Public Health, EUPHA Health PromotionGCU London, IAAH and their Young Professionals’ Network, IUHPE, NCD Child, UCA and the SHE Network.

More information and access to the survey links  

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Call for conference papers: Social Sciences and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Call for conference papers: Social Sciences and the COVID-19 Pandemic

State of Knowledge and Proposals for Action

Colloquium proposed by the French Presidency of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee Bureau – Management Of Social Transformations (MOST) – UNESCO

Life sciences have mobilised globally to understand and fight the COVID-19 virus. Hence, the French Presidency of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee Bureau – Management of Social Transformations (MOST) proposes to organise a colloquium and explore the broader social science perspective on the pandemic nearly two years after it started.

Submissions are invited that represent an original study (not previously published) and explore in diverse ways the impact of Covid-19 from social sciences lenses. Submissions must include an abstract consisting of 800 (minimum) – 1000 (maximum) words. 

All manuscripts should focus on one of the four following sub-themes: 

  1. Effects of the pandemic on the human body and the notion of the person
  2. Effects of COVID19 on local community practices and representations
  3. Effects of the pandemic at the level of national institutions
  4. Effects of the pandemic on migration, and indirectly globalisation

 A proposal may be submitted in French or English language.

Abstract due date: 15 July 2021 at 9pm (GMT-5)

Full paper due date: 30 September 2021 at 9pm (GMT-5)

The conference will take place on Thursday 21 October and Friday 22 October 2021 at UNESCO Paris / by videoconference.

More information

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Schooling during COVID-19: recommendations from the European Technical Advisory Group for schooling during COVID-19

Schooling during COVID-19: recommendations from the European Technical Advisory Group for schooling during COVID-19

Recently the recommendations from the WHO European Region Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic were published. The recommendations represent the work of the TAG between October 2020 and March 2021.

The recommendations were considered at a WHO ministerial meeting on 8 December 2020, after which they were reviewed and updated. The recommendations are endorsed by the TAG to represent the best available evidence and expert advice on safe schooling. Didier Jourdan, chairholder of the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education was a member of the TAG.

The TAG has formulated recommendations of the following eight key issues:

  1. Keeping schools open is a key objective
  2. Testing strategy in the school setting
  3. Effectiveness of applied risk-mitigation measures on infection control
  4. Educational outcomes, mental and social well-being
  5. Children in vulnerable situations
  6. Changes in the school environment that are likely to be of overall benefit to infection control AND child health
  7. Children’s and adolescents’ involvement in decision making
  8. Vaccination strategies with the purpose of maintaining education as a societal good

Read the recommendations

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What does the evidence tell us about keeping schools open safely – High level ministerial meeting UNESCO

What does the evidence tell us about keeping schools open safely – High level ministerial meeting UNESCO

As the world enters a second year living with the COVID-19 pandemic, half of the global student population is still affected by full or partial school closures. To mobilize and support learning continuity, UNESCO established the Global Education Coalition which today counts 160 members working around three central themes: Gender, connectivity and teachers.

On 29 March 2021, UNESCO convened a high-level ministerial meeting “One year into COVID: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe” to take stock of lessons learnt, the greatest risks facing education today and strategies to leave no learner behind. During this meeting, Professor Didier Jourdan, chair holder of the UNESCO Chair and head of the WHO Collaborating Center Global Health and Education, was invited to present a state-of-the-art review of the evidence about keeping schools open safely.

Professor Jourdan presented three solid facts:

  • schools should be among the last places to close and first to reopen
  • school reopening, with comprehensive infection prevention and control measures in place, and when the community infection levels were low or moderate, did not increase community transmission
  • the mechanisms of implementation in schools involve institutional, contextual and personal factors

Read the transcript of the presentation

More information about the high level ministerial meeting

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One year into COVID: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe

One year into COVID: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe

Monday 29 March, 14:00 CET, a high-level Ministerial on-line event

As the world enters a second year living with the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO will convene a high-level ministerial event on 29 March to take stock of lessons learnt, the greatest risks facing education and strategies to leave no learner behind, building on the actions of the Global Education Coalition (GEC) established in March 2020 that marks its first anniversary.

The meeting will provide the global education community with a space for policy dialogue to assess lessons learnt and the most pressing current challenges, informed by the presentation of key data sets. Main participants will be Ministers of Education, high-level representatives of partners within the GEC and of sister agencies. The debate will be framed around three key topics related to:

  • School dropout & learning loss: what are the top policy measures taken to mitigate against school drop out? What remedial actions have been most successful so far to make up for learning loss?
  • Keeping schools open, prioritizing and supporting teachers: how to keep schools open as a priority and ensure a safe learning environment? How to ensure that teachers are safe, considered as frontline workers and supported to adapt to a new learning reality?
  • Digital transformation and the future of education:  what are the key strategies for digital transformation of education systems? How can public-private partnership contribute to advancing the digital transformation? How has COVID-19 impacted the future of education?

Professor Didier Jourdan, chair holder of the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education will deliver an opening presentation about emerging evidence on safe school reopening.

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