Now that coronavirus (covid-19) has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, it's caused much fear among global citizens. Picture: AP
Now that coronavirus (covid-19) has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, it's caused much fear among global citizens. Picture: AP

SA issues directive on how to prevent spread of coronavirus in schools

By Lifestyle reporter Time of article published Mar 12, 2020

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Now that coronavirus (covid-19) has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, it's caused much fear across the globe. South Africa's own coronavirus count sits at 17 confirmed cases.

For parents, it's a worrying situation, especially when children are at risk at school and public gatherings. The South African government has now shared tips on how to prevent the spread of the virus on its official news website.

"The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), Unicef and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued new guidance to help protect children and schools from the transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)," it stated.

Furthermore, both organisations said in a joint statement: “In the event of school closures, the guidance includes recommendations to mitigate against the possible negative impacts on children’s learning and wellbeing.

“This means having solid plans in place to ensure the continuity of learning, including remote learning options such as online education strategies and radio broadcasts of academic content, and access to essential services for all children. These plans should also include necessary steps for the eventual safe reopening of schools."

Where schools remain open, and to make sure that children and their families remain protected and informed, the guidance calls for:

  • Providing children with information about how to protect themselves;
  • Promoting best handwashing and hygiene practices and providing hygiene supplies;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting school buildings, especially water and sanitation facilities; and
  • Increasing airflow and ventilation.

“Schools should provide children with vital information on handwashing and other measures to protect themselves and their families; facilitate mental health support; and help to prevent stigma and discrimination by encouraging students to be kind to each other and avoid stereotypes when talking about the virus,” urged Unicef.

The new guidance also offers helpful tips and checklists for parents and caregivers. These include:

  • Monitoring children’s health and keeping them home from school if they are ill;
  • Encouraging children to ask questions and express their concerns; and
  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose.

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