As a preventive measure to curb the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools, universities and other education institutions have closed in most countries, affecting almost 90% of the global student population. While Member States work to ensure the continuity of learning through alternative delivery modalities, in parallel, they need to start anticipating and preparing for school reopening.
Ministries of Education (MOEs), in consultation with Ministries of Health, Social Affairs and other key public and private institutions, are in charge of planning for school reopening, prioritizing the safety and protection of learners, teachers and other personnel, as well as their health - physical, mental and psychosocial, well-being and social relationships. Back-to-school strategies need to focus on assessing and ensuring the readiness of the education system for school reopening; the continuity of learning; and, system resilience to anticipate and deal with future crises. MOEs will also need to anticipate and prepare for additional challenges resulting from the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19 and prolonged social isolation, on both the education system and on the school community. These include increased risk of dropout, the exacerbation of existing and new inequalities, or the loss of education personnel.