Anti-Covid recommendations for back to school

Anti-Covid recommendations for back to school

Back to school is a delicate moment, especially the time of Covid: some recommendations to face it and protect yourself adequately

Holidays over. The bell rings again. But the epidemiological picture of Sars-CoV-2 infection has changed profoundly since the days before Christmas. In this phase, the spread of the virus mainly affects the school age population, with a very high number of infected people and a further expected increase during the month of January.

The rapid increase in the number of cases in the infant population shows how the closure of schools did not have a decisive influence on the reduction in the number of cases which mostly appear to be of intra-family origin. This data confirms the need to ensure the reopening of schools without further periods of closure. For this reason, a panel of experts from the Italian Society of Hygiene – SitI has developed a series of recommended measures to combat Sars-Cov-2 infection, reporting them in a press release. Here is what emerges.

The importance of vaccines

Given the spread of the Omicron variant, which infects more easily, and the numbers that indicate a high viral circulation, today we are faced with an increase in the incidence for the tenth consecutive week, with three phenomena: high incidence in the unvaccinated and especially in the younger age groups, increased reinfections. From these points starts the document – signed by the President of SItI, Antonio Ferro – which underlines how vaccination is also effective against the Omicron variant. But it also points out that vaccinated people with at least one dose in the age group between 5 and 11 years turn out to be 11% while in the age group between 12 and 19 they are equal to 74% of the population. In this epidemiological phase, the spread of the virus affects the school-age population, with a very high number of infected people and a further expected increase during the month of January. Faced with this epidemiological context, the continuity of face-to-face teaching must be set as a priority objective.

But here are the recommendations of the experts, which start from the value of vaccination. This is the key and priority intervention to guarantee a “safe school”: it is necessary to promote the vaccination of students and all school staff on every occasion. It is therefore important to prioritize the resources of the National Health Service committed to the protection of the health of the school population on the vaccination of subjects between the ages of 5 and 11, also through targeted information strategies, counseling, activation of vaccination points or use of units. furniture at school facilities in addition to vaccination centers and pediatricians’ clinics of free choice, organization of vaccination marathons aimed at the entire eligible population. It is equally important to ensure that the boosters for the third dose are promptly guaranteed at the time of the possibility of administration (120 days after the closure of the primary course) for the 12-18 year old age group.

The other indications

Everything is clear about quarantine and symptom control at home. But that’s not enough. In addition to favoring the tracing of infections and a correct management of close contacts, with timely access to tests for symptomatic or high-risk subjects (tests that can also be performed at school), it is important to remember the importance of the classic rules to be maintained in the classrooms. First of all, those who have symptoms that could be linked to Sars-CoV-2 infection should not be allowed access to school, always remember the importance of hand hygiene and distance.

It is also important that school staff and pupils use masks – in particular FFP2 – in the different environments and that frequent air exchange in the classrooms is ensured. The windows should be opened regularly and for a suitable time. Finally, it is necessary to remember to pay attention to moments at risk of aggregation and to limit gatherings, always and in any case. In addition to providing for periodic sanitization of closed environments.

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