According to the data collected, 80 percent of the world’s schools are in regular sessions. Of these, 54% are returning to personal education, while 34% are using a combination of personal and online training.
Nineteen months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced school closure worldwide, only half of the world’s schools have resumed teaching and learning while about 34 percent of schools rely on mixed or hybrid instruction modes, according to COVID-19 Global Education Recovery Tracker.
The tracker was jointly developed by Johns Hopkins University, the World Bank and UNICEF to help countries make decisions by tracking reopening and COVID-19 recovery plans in more than 200 countries.
According to the tracked data, 80 percent of schools worldwide are in regular sessions. Of these, 54 percent returned to personal guidance, 34 percent relied on mixed or hybrid guidance while 10 percent continued remote guidance and 2 percent offered no guidance.
Although Tracker noted that only 53 percent of countries give priority to vaccinating teachers, the World Bank recommended that countries should not wait any longer to fully vaccinate their population or school staff before reopening schools.
“In order to promote the recovery of education, teachers should be given priority in vaccinating where possible, recognizing that there is a way to reopen safely without vaccination through adequate security measures,” said a report by the World Bank’s Education Team.
“Schools that have reopened worldwide have been able to effectively reduce transmission between schools through simple and relatively inexpensive infection control strategies such as masking, ventilation and physical distance, considering that extensive vaccine coverage is not expected for many in most countries. Over the months, keeping schools closed until all staff have been vaccinated has little benefit in reducing the risk of infection but can be quite costly for children, ”it said.
The World Bank is advocating for the reopening of schools and assessing the risks associated with further prolonged school closures around the world. “In a country where less than 36 to 44 new COVID-19 hospitals per 100,000 population were admitted every week before reopening, the reopening of schools did not increase COVID-19 hospital admissions, even after six weeks.
In countries where hospital admissions were high before school reopened, there was uncertainty over whether reopening had increased covid-related hospital admissions.
Another study explored the difference between start and end dates for summer and autumn vacations across Germany, and found that neither summer nor autumn holidays had a significant effect on the effects of the virus in children or any significant dropout in adults.
“Similarly, other studies support the argument that school transmissions typically follow community transmission trends, before or after,” it added.
Last year, the COVID-19 epidemic closed schools worldwide in more than 188 countries, leaving 1.6 billion children – 75 percent of enrolled students – out of school. “Since the Kovid-19 epidemic spread across the country in early 2020, we knew very little about the virus: how it spread, who would be most affected, and how to treat it.
To protect children and prevent the spread of the disease, most governments have responded by closing schools. “A year later, we know a lot more about both the virus and the disease and how to reduce the infection, and health authorities like WHO recommend closing schools only as a last resort,” it says.
Citing evidence of less covid-19 infection in children, the World Bank said that data from population surveillance studies and contact tracing studies show that young children, especially those under the age of 10, are much less susceptible than adults and adolescents. The chances of becoming infected with COVID-19 are very low.
“In children infected with Covid-19, serious illness and death are rare and usually occur in children with other underlying illnesses,” it says.