The WHO says schools must be opened, the MES still without a plan and an idea

October 1, 2020, Skopje / Photo: Dragan Mitreski - Free Press.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already prepared recommendations for the reopening of schools, as well as a list of commitments that schools around the world must make to reopen their doors.

The calls from the health experts for the students to return to classes with physical presence from September are getting louder and louder, of course, if the epidemiological picture with the coronavirus is as it is at the moment. According to doctors, the Ministry of Education must not be late this year with the start of the school year, as was the case last year, but it must start in September, while the weather is still warm and the risk of spreading the coronavirus is small. Especially when the Indian variant of covid-19 is expected to arrive in the country in the fall.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already prepared recommendations for reopening schools, as well as a list of commitments that schools around the world must make to reopen their doors. The WHO is of the opinion that going to school will bring many benefits to the students.

"School closures have clear negative impacts on children's health, education and development, family income and the overall economy. "Some of the positive things that students will get with this are enabling students to complete their studies and move on to the next level, improving the psychological state, essential services, and social welfare of children." stands on the official website of the World Health Organization.

According to WHO recommendations, schools must maintain hygiene, identify students and teachers at higher risk of infection, and take appropriate measures, greater communication between parents and students, and maintaining a physical distance in the classroom. The WHO recommends that every school take additional measures related to immunization, ie to create programs that will educate both teachers and students about the importance of vaccination.

Although the main conclusion of the WHO is that the return of students is significant and needs to be addressed, in our country it is still uncertain how the next school year will start.

The Ministry of Education and Science did not answer whether it is possible for the school year to start earlier or for outdoor classes to be organized. They recently stated that everything will depend on the epidemiological situation during the summer months and that it is still unknown which teaching model will be taught from September.

The former director of the Center for Public Health and epidemiologist Dr. Aleksandar Stojanov in a conversation with "Free Press" says that if the epidemiological situation is as it is now, then students could return to school in the fall without any problems.

Asked whether the warm weather can be used and the school year to start earlier, in order to organize outdoor classes for students, Stojanov said that regardless of the fact that the vacation for students is long, he does not believe that it can be realized at us.

- I do not know that the school year could start earlier, but I do not know if there is another country in the world where children have three months off. And in Germany the school year starts in August years ago, I do not know if it is related to the weather or not. However, in our country, people go on vacation in July and August, so their children go with them, so that is related. I do not know how that would be realized, but if the epidemiological picture is as it is now, students should return to school in September - Stojanov is decisive.

According to him, it is crucial for schools to comply with special protocols and measures such as distance maintenance, disinfection and a reduced capacity of 50 percent of students in one classroom in one shift. Stojanov also expresses hope that in the next period the vaccination will take place faster.

- Only Indian strain can worsen the condition. Schools are not a problem, students will return, the problem is that we are not vaccinated yet. Let the Indian strain come, if you have 70 to 80 percent of the vaccinated population, then there will be no problem - concluded Dr. Stojanov.

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