To avoid the “harmful” effects of remote learning, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday that COVID-19 tests should be carried out in schools even when no cases have been detected.
WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said this in a statement issued together with UNICEF and UNESCO.
Screenings in schools had previously only been recommended if a cluster of coronavirus cases has been identified, but the WHO now believes PCR or rapid antigen tests should be given even in the absence of symptoms among students and staff.
Kluge said the summer months offer a valuable window of opportunity for governments to put in place the right set of measures that will help keep infection rates down and avoid resorting to school closures.
“We can’t allow the pandemic to rob children of their education and development,” he said.
The WHO’s European Region spans 53 countries and territories and includes several in Central Asia.