covid 19: only half of schools worldwide have resumed classroom learning, 34% continue in hybrid mode: report

NEW DELHI: Nineteen months after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of schools around the world, only half of schools across the world have resumed teaching and learning in the classroom while around 34% of schools rely on a mixed or hybrid mode of teaching, according to the Covid-19 Global monitoring of the resumption of education.
The tracker was jointly created by Johns Hopkins University, the World Bank and UNICEF to help countries make decisions by tracking efforts to reopen and plan for the recovery of Covid-19 in more than 200 countries.
According to the data monitored, 80% of schools in the world are in ordinary session. Of these, 54% are back to teaching in person, 34% rely on blended or hybrid education while 10% continue distance education and 2% offer no education.
While the tracker noted that only 53% of countries prioritize teacher immunization, the World Bank has recommended that countries no longer wait until their populations or school staff are fully immunized before reopening schools.
“To promote resumption of education, teachers should prioritize vaccination wherever possible, while recognizing that there are ways to reopen safely without vaccination through adequate security measures,” said a report from the World Bank Education team.
“Given that schools that have reopened around the world have been able to effectively reduce transmission within schools with simple and relatively inexpensive infection control strategies such as masking, ventilation and physical distancing, and given that ” Widespread immunization coverage in most countries is not expected for many months, keeping schools closed until all staff can be immunized has little benefit in terms of reducing the risk of transmission, but potentially generates substantial costs for children, ”he said.
The World Bank has advocated for the reopening of schools and assessed the risks associated with further prolonged school closures around the world.
“In countries where there were less than 36 to 44 new Covid-19 hospitalizations per 1 lakh of inhabitants per week before the reopening, the reopening of schools did not increase Covid-19 hospitalizations, even up to six weeks later. In countries with higher hospitalization rates before school reopenings, the study results were inconclusive as to whether the reopens generated an increase in Covid-related hospitalizations.
“Another study exploited the differences in the start and end dates of summer and fall vacations across Germany and found that neither summer nor fall closures had a significant containment effect on transmission of the virus in children or a significant ripple effect in adults.
Likewise, other studies support the argument that transmission in schools generally follows trends in community transmission, rather than preceding or increasing them, ”he added.
Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic led to the global shutdown of schools in more than 188 countries, leaving 1.6 billion children – 75% of enrolled students – out of school.
“As the Covid-19 pandemic spread in and between countries in early 2020, we knew very little about the virus: how it spread, who would be affected the most, and how to treat it. To protect children and slow the transmission of the disease, most governments have responded by closing schools.
“A year later, we know a lot more about the virus and the disease and how to mitigate transmission and health authorities like the WHO are only recommending that schools be closed as a last resort,” he said. -he declares.
Citing evidence of low transmission of Covid-19 in children, the World Bank said data from population surveillance studies and contact tracing studies suggest that, compared to adults and adolescents , young children, especially those under the age of 10, are considerably less susceptible to contracting Covid-19 and much less likely to transmit the disease.
“Among children who contract Covid-19, serious illnesses and deaths are rare and most often occur in children with other underlying illnesses,” he said.

Norma A. Roth