School openings must be prioritised while maintaining proper health and hygiene, says World Health Organization's chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan. Taking to Twitter, Dr Swaminathan said, "The impact on children's mental, physical and cognitive wellbeing will last a long time. School openings must be prioritized with distancing, masking, avoiding indoor singing and gatherings, hand hygiene and vaccination of all adults. @mhrdschools @DrYasminAHaque @NITIAayog @UNICEF".
In a tweet by the not-for-profit MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, it informed, "Greatest Impact of Covid-19 is the indirect effect on education by shutting down of schools around the world. 1.5 billion children were suddenly out of school and it affecting their education, says Dr Donald Bundy"
Earlier, on August 6, Dr Soumya Swaminathan had cautioned people against lowering their guard against the coronavirus and urged them to strictly follow covid-appropriate protocols for another six months.
The WHO chief scientist said, "I know everybody is tired, everyone wants to meet their family, organise parties. But this is not the time to let down your guard. Let's be careful for another six months. By then, if the vaccination coverage is very high, then things should definitely start improving."
The global health body's chief scientist had also said that there is no scientific evidence for anxiety that the third wave of coronavirus will target children. On 19 June, the Union Ministry of Education had released the guidelines for parent participation in home-based learning during school closure and beyond.
Former Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' in his tweet had said that "in this 'new normal' of the pandemic, considering parents' role as pivotal to children's growth and learning, these guidelines aim to provide information on the 'why', 'what', and 'how-to' of participation and engagement in supporting children during the school closure, irrespective of their literacy levels. Home is the first school, and parents are the first teachers".
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The guidelines on home-based learning emphasise on the need for parents to create a safe and engaging environment and a positive learning environment, have realistic expectations from the child, take care of health and eat healthy, while at the same time having fun with children. These guidelines are meant not only for parents but also for caregivers, other family members, grandparents, community members, older siblings who all are engaged in promoting the welfare of children.