A report compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, US, shows that about 97,000 children in the US tested positive for COVID-19 in just two weeks in July.

The report comes days after World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan stressed the importance of reopening schools so that learning and overall development of children don't get affected any more than they already have.

As the world continues to battle the new coronavirus infection, COVID-19, public spaces continue to be closed in many countries—although national lockdowns have been lifted in many places. Institutions such as schools, colleges and universities are among the public spaces that remain closed in many countries owing to the dangers reopening could pose to children and young adults.

Read more: COVID-19 and children

With schools closed all around the world, children have had to deal with quite a few changes. Those who have access to the internet are learning to learn online—the pressures on them are immense as the boundaries between classwork and homework blur and they can longer enjoy the downtime they had with friends during the lunch break and in-between classes.

Governments the world over, health authorities of the respective countries, schools and parents have been trying to reach a consensus over the reopening of such places, especially after restrictions in movements have eased over the last two months.

  1. Risk of reopening schools early
  2. Reopening schools in India
  3. Harmful effects of keeping schools closed
  4. COVID-19 and schools, colleges and universities

According to the report which was published in The New York Times, about 338,000 children have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic in the United States, and 97,000 new infections were recorded in the last two weeks of July alone. The rate of infection was alarmingly high in the western and southern states of the country, with a rate of about seven out of 10 infections coming from these states alone. However, the data doesn't include complete figures from states such as Texas and New York.

States such as Alaska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Missouri, Montana and Idaho were identified as those with the highest rise in infections among children over those two weeks. However, the data is also differently put together by different states based on the upper age limit for who is a child.

According to the report, children were not likely to suffer from the severe symptoms or complications of COVID-19, which was in contrast to a report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US, which found that children were at risk of developing Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome, also known as MIS-C. However, this condition has had a high incidence among people of colour. According to the CDC, as many as 570 people under the age of 20 had developed MIS-C despite not feeling any signs earlier.

Some of the states that have allowed schools to reopen also reported new infections, and had to return to online learning for the next couple of days until a disinfection drive was completed on the school premises.

myUpchar doctors after many years of research have created myUpchar Ayurveda Urjas Capsule by using 100% original and pure herbs of Ayurveda. This ayurvedic medicine has been recommended by our doctors to lakhs of people for sex problems with good results.
Long Time Capsule
₹719  ₹799  10% OFF

Returning to the comments that WHO's Dr Swaminathan made with respect to reopening educational institutions, the Indian government has also been mulling children returning to the more familiar classroom environment by September, according to various reports. Reports suggest that children in higher classes may be offered to resume classroom sessions in a phased manner between September and November.

Read more: How to assist children with intellectual disability during this pandemic

The strategies around reopening schools include halving the duration of the school day, and introducing shifts for different batches of students, as about 33% of staff and student strength is being advised. However, pre-primary and primary school children may continue their classes online.

Many states in the country are said to be in favour of reopening schools based on an assumption that people under 20 years will develop herd immunity.

The number of COVID-19 cases in India has skyrocketed in recent months, making the country the third worst hit by the pandemic.

While most evidence on children with COVID-19 does not point to severe infection among them, older children are said to transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus just as well as adults. And with a few states accounting for the majority of cases in the country, the chances of the infection rate shooting up in these places also remain high.

Many countries have been seeing a resurgence of the COVID-19 infection, especially after public spaces such as schools were reopened—schools had to be shut down again after the emergence of new cases in South Korea, Israel and Australia. According to a UNESCO report, more than 1.5 billion students have been impacted due to the shut down of educational institutions.

Read more: COVID-19 prevention and care tips for parents with young children

In developing countries like India, the COVID-19 pandemic has also led to children dropping out of school and taking up work thus intensifying the problem of child labour. 

Many people who have lost jobs and livelihoods are no longer able to afford their children's school fee, leaving the children to take up daily wage work. This concern was highlighted in a 2018 study by DHL International, which had estimated that more than 56 million children in India were not going to school. A global pandemic is only likely to raise that figure manifold.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that as many as 10.1 million children who do not go to school are working for a living, and many of them are the main earning members of their respective households.

myUpchar doctors after many years of research have created myUpchar Ayurveda Kesh Art Hair Oil by using 100% original and pure herbs of Ayurveda. This Ayurvedic medicine has been recommended by our doctors to more than 1 lakh people for multiple hair problems (hair fall, gray hair, and dandruff) with good results.
Bhringraj Hair Oil
₹599  ₹850  29% OFF

After the government's decision to open up other public spaces such as gyms earlier, a decision on the fate of schools and other educational institutions is going to be part of the new unlock guidelines in August 2020. The guidelines are also going to include the practice of strict physical distancing and hygiene rules.

Read more: The right way to wash your hands to avoid coronavirus infection

States like Delhi and Haryana are in favour of reopening schools soon, and some are looking to reopen in September, while others will follow the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding this decision.

As the verdict remains split over the reopening of schools and educational institutions, the central boards for education in the country must also devise new strategies to accelerate the learning process for children, which has been hampered by a long, unscheduled break in their curriculum.

Medicines / Products that contain 97,000 children test positive for COVID-19 in the US; should schools reopen right now?

Read on app