WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

15-Sep-2020 00:04:18
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “the decision to close schools should be a last resort, temporary and only at a local level” in areas with intense COVID-19 transmission. WHO
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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 04:18
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 15 SEPTEMBER 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE – RECENT - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Various shots, exterior, WHO Headquarters

15 SEPTEMBER 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"In some countries, schools have reopened. In others they remain closed. To support countries in every situation, UNESCO, UNICEF and WHO yesterday published updated guidance on school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19. The guidance provides practical advice for schools in areas with no cases, sporadic cases, clusters of cases or community transmission."
4. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Given the devastating consequences on children, youth and our societies as a whole, the decision to close schools should be a last resort, temporary and only at a local level in areas with intense transmission. During school closures, continuity of education should be guaranteed through distance learning. The time during which schools are closed should be used to put in place measures to prevent and respond to transmission when schools reopen. Keeping children safe and at school is not a job for schools alone, or governments alone or families alone. It’s a job for all of us, working together."
6. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO:
"Today half of the global student population is not yet back in schools. The longer schools remain closed, the more damaging the consequences, especially for children from more disadvantaged backgrounds, who in addition to learning, rely on school for health, for safety and sometimes for nutrition."
World Health Organization (WHO):
8. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF:
"Today, almost nine months since the coronavirus outbreak started, 872 million students or half the world's student population in 51 countries are still unable to head back to their classrooms. Millions of these children were fortunate enough to learn remotely, online through radio, through television broadcast or through the internet. However, UNICEF data shows that for at least 463 million children whose schools closed during COVID-19, there was no such thing as remote learning."
10. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF:
"At least one third of the world's school children were unable to access remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered their schools, including because of lack of internet access, computers, or mobile devices. The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is nothing short of a global education emergency."
12. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"We have to sustain pressure on this virus. We have to reduce transmission at community level in order to lower the risk to those older and vulnerable people and to maintain an environment in which our children can continue to attend school. The only way to do that is that the adults separate themselves enough to drive transmission downwards."
16. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"So, what is more important? Our children back at school? Or the nightclubs and the bars open? And I think these are decisions that we have to make coming into the winter months. These are trade-offs, there are no easy answers and it will be very easy to sit here with Dr Tedros and say, you can do this and this and this and this. Unfortunately, sometimes when you do this, you can't do the other one, you have to make those decisions. So, I do think there's a time for decision making coming as the season rolls into the winter months for many, many countries. And there are no correct answers. And I think the risk management approach is the only way to go."
18. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
STORYLINE
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “the decision to close schools should be a last resort, temporary and only at a local level” in areas with intense COVID-19 transmission.

During today’s WHO COVID-19 briefing Dr Tedros announced that “to support countries in every situation,” UNESCO, UNICEF and WHO have published updated guidance on school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19.

He said, “the guidance provides practical advice for schools in areas with no cases, sporadic cases, clusters of cases, or community transmission."

The WHO Director-General said, “during school closures, continuity of education should be guaranteed through distance learning,” and stressed that “keeping children safe and at school is not a job for schools alone, or governments alone or families alone. It’s a job for all of us, working together."

Briefing via video teleconference, UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, said, “the longer schools remain closed, the more damaging the consequences, especially for children from more disadvantaged backgrounds, who in addition to learning, rely on school for health, for safety and sometimes for nutrition."

Also briefing remotely, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore noted that “872 million students or half the world's student population in 51 countries are still unable to head back to their classrooms.”

Fore said, “for at least 463 million children whose schools closed during COVID-19, there was no such thing as remote learning."

The UNICEF Executive Director said, “the sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is nothing short of a global education emergency."

For his part, WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director Dr Mike Ryan said, “we have to sustain pressure on this virus. We have to reduce transmission at community level in order to lower the risk to those older and vulnerable people and to maintain an environment in which our children can continue to attend school. The only way to do that is that the adults separate themselves enough to drive transmission downwards."

Ryan said, “what is more important? Our children back at school? Or the nightclubs and the bars open? And I think these are decisions that we have to make coming into the winter months.”

He said, “these are trade-offs,” and “unfortunately, sometimes when you do this, you can't do the other one, you have to make those decisions.”

The updated advice for policymakers and educators on running schools as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, looks at risk-based approaches for school operations, based on the level and intensity of transmission rates at lower schooling levels; age-appropriate considerations for measures such as physical distancing and masks in schools; and other measures to mitigate against COVID-19 in schools.
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