29th May 2020 – Last updated 19th June 2020
National, regional and local strategies to reopen schools
Communication of the Guidance
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
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).
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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