Article: Co-operation and consistency: a global survey of professionals involved in reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic

Article: Co-operation and consistency: a global survey of professionals involved in reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, schools closed in haste and were expected to create virtual learning opportunities for their students while they waited to see when and how they might re-open. National governments issued reopening guidance at varying speeds. The purpose of the study described in this article [1] was to invite health and education professionals to share what was happening in their country about school reopening in terms of the features and implications of the guidance issued. A semi-structured questionnaire was distributed through the global community of UNESCO Chair ‘Global Health and Education’ and partner organisations.

There were 192 useable responses from 43 countries and territories and 1 multi-country region. 20 of these, mainly in the Global North, had received reopening guidance, 23 were still waiting and 1 had not closed its schools. Guidance prioritised public health measures like social distancing, with less emphasis on education impacts. Success came from partnerships between schools, families and local authorities, consistent guidance and enough time and resources for implementation. Fear of infection led to significant absenteeism among students and staff. Respondents waiting for guidance, mainly in the Global South, shared similar concerns and expectations.

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[1] Gray, N.J. and Jourdan, D. (2021), “Co-operation and consistency: a global survey of professionals involved in reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic”, Health Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-07-2020-0054