Students, teachers should wear masks when schools reopen post-coronavirus: Report

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Face masks and general personal protective equipment (PPE) should be distributed among students and staff when schools in the Middle East reopen as the coronavirus crisis subsides, according to a report released Tuesday by management consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.

The report, which focused on what schools in the Middle East need to do pre-opening, during opening, and after opening, Oliver Wyman called for fundamental changes to the logistics, processes and procedures of schools to ensure a safe and smooth opening.

In particular, teachers and staff will need additional training, and implement a series of measures to curb the potential spread of coronavirus at a school.

“Schools remain critical as they are linked to parents re-joining the workforce and contributing to (or even remaining in) the economy. It is especially important to avoid further disruptions for graduating classes. Still, the priority is to safeguard the lives and well-being of school communities,” Jeff Youssef, Partner at Oliver Wyman said in a statement.

The report said that increasing temperature checks at entry, enhancing sterilization and cleaning procedures, and limiting interaction between students and teachers as critical to ensure schools open smoothly.

One way of limiting interactions the report highlighted was staggered openings, arrivals, and lessons.

“With the region facing growing macroeconomic uncertainty, a staged approach to re-opening schools post COVID-19 will allow policy makers and academic institutions to address the long-term implications of prolonged school and university closures,” Youssef said.

Coronavirus infection cases among children are relatively low compared to adults, but the risk remains of children transmitting the disease to family members or school staff.

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