Health-education to prevent COVID-19 in schoolchildren: a call to action.

01 Jul 2020
Gray DJ, Kurscheid J, Mationg ML, Williams GM, Gordon C, Kelly M, Wangdi K, McManus DP

BACKGROUND

There is currently considerable international debate around school closures/openings and the role of children in the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Whilst evidence suggests that children are not impacted by COVID-19 as severely as adults, little is still known about their transmission potential, and with a lot of asymptomatic cases they may be silent transmitters (i.e. infectious without showing clinical signs of disease), albeit at a lower level than adults. In relation to this, it is somewhat concerning that in many countries children are cared for, or are often in close contact with, older individuals such as grandparents ─ the age group most at risk of acquiring serious respiratory complications resulting in death.

MAIN TEXT

We emphasise that in the absence of a vaccine or an effective therapeutic drug, preventive measures such as good hygiene practices ─ hand washing, cough etiquette, disinfection of surfaces and social distancing represent the major (in fact only) weapons that we have against COVID-19. Accordingly, we stress that there is a pressing need to develop specific COVID-19 prevention messages for schoolchildren.

CONCLUSION

An entertainment education intervention for schoolchildren systematically implemented in schools would be highly effective and fill this need. With such measures in place there would be greater confidence around the opening of schools.