Closing schools may be necessary when the pandemic is out of control, but it should always be a last resort and a temporary measure.
In order to ensure that school closure is as short as possible, it is necessary to impose greater restrictions on other non-essential activities and to reconfigure school environments to make them as safe as possible.
Reopening schools should be a priority and occur in advance of lifting other restrictions.
The timing of the reopening should be driven by data not by dates. That is, it should occur as soon as it is possible to do so without leading to a loss of control over infection rates.
The return to school should be phased rather than all at once, with careful monitoring of the effects of initial moves and with the further lifting of safeguards contingent on falling local infection levels
Urgent measures need to be implemented in order to mitigate the negative impacts of school closures on both mental health and educational achievement.