School closure, COVID-19 and lunch programme: Unprecedented undernutrition crisis in low-middle income countries
Korapat Mayurasakorn; Bonggochpass Pinsawas; Pichanun Mongkolsucharitkul (et al.)
Published: July 2020
Journal: Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Based on the current data indicating that children are less likely to be main vectors of SAR‐CoV‐2, This article argues that the benefits of school reopening and continuing education far outweigh the risks.
The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has affected nearly 70% of children and teenagers around the world due to school closure policies.
School closure is implemented widely in order to prevent viral transmission and its impact on the broader community, based on preliminary rec-
ommendations and evidence from inuenza. However, there is debate with regard to the effectiveness of school closures. Growing evidence sug-
gests that a child’s SARS-CoV-2 infection is often mild or asymptomatic and that children may not be major SARS-CoV-2 transmitters; thus, it is
questionable if school closures prevent transmission signicantly. This question is important as a majority of children in low- and middle-income
countries depend on free school meals; unexpected long-term school closure may adversely impact nutrition and educational outcomes. Food
insecurity is expected to be higher during the pandemic. In this viewpoint, we argue for a more thorough exploration of potential adverse
impacts of school closures in low- and middle-income countries and recommend actions to ensure that the health and learning needs of vulnera-
ble populations are met in this time of crisis.