There is no direct link between the reopening of schools and vaccinating children, Deputy Director-General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said.
Addressing a news briefing at the Health Promotion Bureau today, he said the expert committee had categorically underlined that reopening schools and vaccinating children are two different aspects.
“There are several factors to be taken into account when reopening schools such as the number of daily COVID infections in the country, infrastructure facilities at schools and possibilities as to how the exams that were delayed are to be held in future,” he explained.
“However, when it comes to inoculating the children, it would be decided separately as per the scientific data and the recommendations put forward by the experts’ committee,” he outlined.
Dr. Herath said both would happen in future in due course, but reiterated that it does not require that both should take place simultaneously.
Meanwhile, the World Bank opined that education systems do not need to wait for widespread vaccination before returning to offline schooling.
In a new policy note, the World Bank’s Education team has noted that the experiences from countries around the world where schools have reopened, suggest that with adequate mitigation strategies, schools pose low risks for disease transmission among students, staff and communities.
Against this backdrop, the Sri Lankan Government has already decided to reopen schools where there are students numbering below 200.
The authorities have also articulated that schools will be reopened under several stages and there is no final decision on the time frame as yet