Framework for Reopening Schools

From UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Food Programme and UNHCR

A young girl studies at home with her father in Indonesia, 2020.


Global school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic present an unprecedented risk to children’s education, protection and well-being.

Schools do much more than teach children how to read, write and count. They also provide nutrition, health and hygiene services; mental health and psychosocial support; and dramatically reduce the risk of violence, early pregnancy and more. And it’s the most vulnerable children who are the hardest hit by school closures, and we know from previous crises that the longer they are out of school, the less likely they are to return.

When deciding whether to reopen schools, authorities should look at the benefits and risks across education, public health and socio-economic factors, in the local context, using the best available evidence. The best interest of every child should be paramount.

The guidelines aim to inform the decision-making process regarding school reopening, support national preparations and guide the implementation process, as part of overall public health and education planning processes. It is designed to be a flexible tool that can be adapted to each context and updated as the situation changes. The guidelines outline six key priorities to assess the readiness of those schools and inform planning.

On this page, you will also find a supplementary annex to the Framework, also developed by UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, World Food Programme and UNHCR, highlighting some emerging lessons from countries’ experiences of reopening schools. Sharing these lessons can help countries strengthen their reopening plans and improve the chances of a successful and safer return to in-person learning for all children.

For more on UNICEF's response to COVID-19, visit: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) information centre

Download document

(PDF, 1,11 MB) (PDF, 1,57 MB) (PDF, 1,02 MB) (PDF, 1,03 MB) (PDF, 775,85 KB) (PDF, 1,52 MB) (PDF, 1,14 MB) (PDF, 1,07 MB)