The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned the prolonged closure of schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect the development, safety and well-being of children globally.

While cautioning that the effects of closing school for another year will have a negative impact on the coming generations, the body noted that schools are not drivers of the viral disease

UNICEF maintained that despite a devastating proof that schools were not diffusers of the pandemic, steps have been taken to ensure that they remained shut.

“In the case of lockdowns, schools must be among the first to reopen once authorities start lifting restrictions.

“Catch-up classes should be prioritised to ensure that children who have been unable to learn remotely are not left behind.

“If children are faced with another year of school closures, the effects will be felt for generations to come,” UNICEF warned.

The UN agency added that the number of out-of-school children is set to increase to 24 million – a level not yet seen in years and a level it has fought so hard to overcome.

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