UN: COVID-shut schools in 19 nations risk ‘generational catastrophe’

In a statement released to the press, heads of two UN agencies, UNICEF and UNESCO warned of a generational catastrophe as schools remain shut in 19 countries due to the pandemic. This story was first published by the Agence-France-Presse and was republished on July 13, 2021, by the Manila Bulletin.

The statement said, “governments have too often shut down schools and kept them closed for prolonged periods, even when the epidemiological situation didn’t warrant it…We urge decision-makers and governments to prioritize the safe reopening of schools to avoid generational catastrophe…Closing schools mortgage our future for unclear benefits to our present. We must prioritize better. We can re-open schools safely, and we must”.

The statement added that because of the profound effects of schools, they should always be “the last to close and the first to open”.

Editor’s Note: This statement from UNICEF and UNESCO drives home the point that children’s education is the last in the priority list of our government. While children have already been allowed to travel and to go to the malls, they have been prevented to go back to school. Their development has been compromised by the ignorance of our government leaders.

We have been saying these for months and we are happy to see this statement from UNICEF and UNESCO. Here are some of the scientific support of UNICEF and UNESCO’s position: Science says it’s time to open schools, CDC: Risk of coronavirus in schools is small, Overcome the fear: Sign petition to end lockdowns of children and the youth, Children’s Commission: Children should be back in school, German experts: Schools and day care centers should be reopened, 60+ doctors and educators release statement on the situation of children and adolescents during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, American Academy of Pediatrics release recommendations for school re-opening, Finland schools reopen successfully, How schools in other countries have reopened, CDC: Vaccinating teachers not a pre-requisite for safe school reopening.

We call on the Philippine government to reopen all schools! Our children should no longer be collateral damage to the mythic quest for zero covid.

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