Manuals, Toolkits and Guidance

Safe Back to School: A practitioner’s guide

Publication year:


English, French,Spanish,Ukrainian,Portuguese,Arabic


(1.3 MiB)


CP AOR, Child Protection Area of Responsibility,Global Education Cluster

Save the Children, together with other agencies of the Global Education Cluster Strategic Advisory Group, has developed a Safe Back to School (SB2S) practitioners’ guide which aims to provide guidance to program teams on how to plan an integrated, participatory process for safe school reopening applicable in all contexts across the humanitarian-development nexus. The guide has been developed in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic which led to many school closures and offers a unique multi-sectoral opportunity for governments and school communities to build back better and strengthen the resilience of their education systems. The Safe Back to School guide builds on the UN Framework for Reopening Schools, and provides concrete actions that can be taken to operationalise these global policy recommendations. Please take care to contextualise any actions chosen, and be aware that not all actions will be appropriate in all contexts, and will have to be contextualised based on local practices and aligned with government standards.

The Safe Back to School guide aims to be a user-friendly, practitioner-focused tool that outlines the key steps needed for a coordinated, inclusive, all-hazards approach to school reopening and links to further guidance where appropriate. Coordination teams (such as Child Protection Area of Responsibility, Education Cluster, EiE Working Group Coordinators, Refugee Education Groups or Local Education Groups) are encouraged to share this document and reference this guidance as coordinated school reopening strategies are developed and operationalised. Divided into two sections, the guide includes two Back-to-School Checklists presenting key actions for thematic areas to ensure sectoral integration throughout the school reopening process and top-line actions for head teachers, school management committee or other school structures to follow. The second section provides detailed technical guidance and resources for specific activities mentioned in the checklists.

The guide was developed with reference to the INEE Minimum Standards, the Child Protection Minimum Standards, the Sphere Handbook, and the Guidance for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in schools (IFRC, UNICEF, WHO). While the information in this Safe Back to School guide can be used to advocate with governments, this guide is not intended to advise governments on policy and benchmarks for school reopening.

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