Teachers should also be prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once the frontline health workers and high-risk populations are vaccinated, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on children’s education around the globe. Vaccinating teachers is a critical step towards putting it back on track,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement.
The UNICEF said last April, nationwide school closures disrupted the learning of almost 90 percent of students worldwide.
It added that as of December 1, classrooms are closed for nearly one in five schoolchildren globally or 320 million children.
“While that number has dropped since, there continues to be an unsupported assumption that closing schools may slow the spread of the disease, despite increasing evidence that schools are not a main driver of community transmission,” the UNICEF said.
The agency said that as cases increases in many countries around the world, communities are closing the schools again.
The UNICEF underscored that the COVID-19 vaccine will protect the teachers from the virus, which will allow them to teach in person and keep the schools open.
“While decisions about vaccine allocation ultimately rest with governments, the consequences of extended missed or impaired education are steep, especially for the most marginalized,” the agency said.
“The longer children remain out of school, the less likely they are to return, and the more difficult it is for their parents to resume work,” it added.