The United Nations Children’s Fund says closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic will impact negatively on the development, safety and wellbeing of children globally, noting that schools are not drivers of the viral disease.
UNICEF also warned that the effects of closing school for another year will be felt for generations to come.
The agency in a statement on Tuesday maintained that despite overwhelming evidence that schools were not drivers of the pandemic, steps have been taken to ensure that they remained shut.
“In the case of lockdowns, schools must be among the first to reopen once authorities start lifting restrictions.
“Catch-up classes should be prioritised to ensure that children who have been unable to learn remotely are not left behind.
“If children are faced with another year of school closures, the effects will be felt for generations to come,” UNICEF warned.
The UN agency noted that the number of out-of-school children is set to rise by 24 million to a level not yet seen in years and to a level it has fought so hard to overcome.