UNESCO Chair Global Health and Education Health Education, Prevention, Health Promotion, Children and Young People

Communication of the guidance, and missing resources

29th May 2020 – Last updated 19th June 2020

National, regional and local strategies to reopen schools


  • Communication to different audiences about school reopening may follow a pathway from national Government to schools (mediated through states/regions/cantons for some countries), and from schools to parents, but pandemic briefings to the general population might also include updates on schools
  • All types of media were used in communication – online, TV, radio, posters, debates
  • With regard to resources and guidance still needed, a wide range of responses included concrete resources (masks/PPE, better online connectivity, more teachers and household workers, education resources about the pandemic and health literacy), underpinning evidence statements and broader economic recovery policies for families and school workers
  • There was a need to monitor the reopening process to see if further resources would be needed

Communication of the Guidance

Portugal – Retrieved 11.06.20 from https://www.dgs.pt/directrizes-da-dgs/orientacoes-e-circulares-informativas/orientacao-n-0242020-de-08052020-pdf.aspx

There were many audiences interested in the announcement of the reopening guidance – school management teams, unions, teachers, parents – and respondents reported several ways in which the Government and other authorities had kept them informed.

Many countries have had regular communication to the general population from the Government about different aspects of the pandemic. The announcement about school reopening could be part of that briefing:

Well-advertised by the government, e.g. through daily updates on tv/ online with the so called “COVID-19 team”; Chief Epidemiologist, Director of Health and a representative of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management. (Iceland)  

There were reports of a communication pathway from Government to schools (sometimes via states, regions or cantons), and then from headteachers to parents:

By the supervisory authorities (Prime Minister, Minister of Education) relayed by the press; by each school principal to the families of their students. (Belgium)

The central government have set up the guidelines, which were then modified/adapted and implemented by the Victorian Premier… Each school communicates with the parents of the students. (Australia)

Regarding the school management team, one example was direct communication of the guidelines followed by training in key aspects of the strategy e.g. disinfection procedures:

Each school received the guidelines, the General Directorate for Schools prepared training on cleaning and sanitizing with the Army and the Secretary of State promoted at distance meetings with all the headmaster of the country. (Portugal) 

Countries used a range of media, including online platforms, radio and even debates:

Communication, meetings, trainings are conducted online and through the radio station of the DepEd regional and division offices. (Ma. Luisa M. Dominguez, The Philippines)

All visual and audio communication channels (poster, spot, debate) are used. (Dr Balla Coumba Gueye, Senegal)

Teaching unions were mentioned as an important partner in the reopening. They were not passive recipients of information – they might also challenge the Government:

Guidelines published on the Government website. Daily national briefings from the Government. Teaching unions very active in relaying information and asking questions of Government. (Dr Nicola Gray, England)

Missing Resources or Guidance

Greece – Screen shot web page 11.06.20 https://www.minedu.gov.gr/koronoios-kentriki/298-uncategorised/44822

When asked if there were any other resources or guidance missing that people needed to reopen schools, one third of country respondents said that they did not need anything else. The majority of country respondents, however, reported a wide range of concrete resources, underpinning evidence or other guidance/policies that they still felt were missing from the strategy (Box 1).

  • Masks / personal protective equipment for use in schools (USA & Belgium)
  • Better connectivity to online resources (The Philippines)
  • Coordination between different sectors (education, health for tracing, transport to a lesser extent) (Belgium)
  • Human resources (teachers, household workers) (Tunisia)
  • An education strategy about microorganisms and health literacy (England)
  • Communication plan resources (Senegal)
  • Evidence-based statements (Switzerland)
  • Economic policies ensuring that parents, families and all school workers receive “all” resources they need (Germany)
  • Freedom to tailor implementation to each school (France)

Box 1 – Resources, underpinning evidence, guidance or policies still missing from national strategies

Several countries made the point that they would have to wait and see whether anything further was missing, as the reopening progressed.

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