COVID-19 SUPPORT: MESH International Advisory Council reports and meetings

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The MESH International Advisory Council ( is continuing to meet weekly during the coronavirus crisis to share knowledge about  supporting learning during school closures in the different UN regions.  

We are publishing reviews of evidence and our recommendations for managing crises for schooling now and in the future: see references below. MESH Member organisations are conducting surveys of teachers’ experiences and recommendations, on use and access to technology and other related issues. In time, survey findings will be published on the MESHGuides site and in professional journals.

References to Advisory Board papers:

Blamires, M. (April 2020) COVID-19 SUPPORT: Psycho Social Skills, Signs and Gestures to Support Learners

Goto, E. et al (2020) Numeracy for All MESHGuide – in partnership with VSO international 

Hall, S (April 2020) Doing Education Differently: a new vision for Education post-Covid 19. Fabians Education Group Blog

Laxton, D. et al (2020) MESHGuide Early Childhood Education in Emergencies – in partnership with VSO international  specifically for early years children, their carers and volunteers in the Rohingya Camps.

Tokuhama-Esponosa, T., Borja Avilés, C., and Vallejo, M. (2020) Estudio Sobre Tendencias Inovadoras, a nivel mundial, en recursos educativos digitales (RED) – url to come.

Watkins, M. with Leask, M. (2020a) Numeracy for all – lower primary mathematics: making and using low cost resources. Videos in partnership with VSO international

Watkins, M. with Leask, M. (2020a) Maths Games at Home. Videos in partnership with VSO international

Younie, S. (April 2020) Future Proofing Education for Times of Crisis – The failure of government to provide a national strategy for remote schooling during the coronavirus, Fabians Education Group Blog

Younie, S. and Laird, K. (April 2020) COVID-19 SUPPORT: VIRUS TRANSFER – Scientists, Teachers and Teacher Educators Work Together to Combat the Spread of Infection  see also the MESHGuides on Germs: Health Education/Science for Early Years  and Laundering to kill Germs.

Younie, S., Hall, S., Laird, K., Laxton, D., Owen, L. and Procter, R. (forthcoming) Schooling in a pandemic MESHGuide – under development.

Younie S., Leask, M. and Hall, S. (in press) Education in Emergencies: pandemic/disaster planning for education sector continuity. (Chapter 21 in Hudson, B. Leask, M and Younie, S. (in press) Education System Design: foundations, policy options and consequences. Abingdon, UK. RoutledgeTaylorFrancis.


A special edition of the Technology, Pedagogy and Education (TPEA) journal on teaching and learning during the coronavirus will be published by the end of 2020. The TPEA Association is a MESH founder member.

Maintaining Social distancing in Schools – a systematic review – see Table 2 for social distancing strategies

-Uscher-Pines, L., Schwartz, H.L., Ahmed, F. et al. School practices to promote social distancing in K-12 schools: review of influenza pandemic policies and practices. BMC Public Health 18, 406 (2018).

Resuming schooling after closures: quote from UK Cabinet Office (2013) Preparing for Pandemic Influenza Guidance for Local Planners 

“…Re-opening after closure based on evidence from the local Health Protection Unit, Public Health England/Wales would decide that the infection rate in an area has fallen to a level where schools and early years and childcare settings could be advised to re-open in relative safety (it can never be “safe” in absolute terms as it is possible that there will be further cases). “ p.26

Mapping community strengths in emergencies

Clearly in emergencies, communities will need to draw on local, national and international resources to manage disruption. There are a number of examples on the internet of government advice on mapping community strengths to build resilience in emergencies. Schools may wish to include this mapping in their own planning to support continuity of education and to protect vulnerable children.

Advice to schools from governments – examples

World Health Organisation (2009) Reducing transmission of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in school settings

Canada: Government of Alberta  (July 2013)  Pandemic Planning Guide For Alberta School Authorities

UK: DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (2008) Supporting learning if schools close for extended periods during a flu pandemic (December 2008). Note: This is an example of a national plan focused on maintaining learning. The reorganisation of the English school system post the 2010 election means these plans no longer work as necessary infrastructure was dismantled.

USA Department for Health and Human Sciences  (April 2017) Get your school ready for pandemic flu

Higher and further education advice 

UK government: BIS (2009) Pandemic FLU guidance for Further and Higher Education

Individual school’s policies – examples

New Zealand example: Eketahuna school

UK example: St James schools’ policy 2009 updated 2017

USA  example: Suffield schools

General Advice

World Health Organisation (2005) Checklist for influenza pandemic preparedness planning


Cabinet Office  (2013) Preparing for Pandemic Influenza Guidance for Local Planners references the UK (2008) National Risk Register and the Department of Health (2011) Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011.

North East Lincolnshire Council Pandemic Flu Plan 2019-2022

London Resilience Group (2018) London Influenza Pandemic plan