NEW YORK/ROME – More than 39 billion in-school meals have been missed globally since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic due to school closures, according to a new report released today by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and the World Food Programme (WFP).
COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom notes that 370 million children worldwide – many of whom are reliant on school meals as a key source of their daily nutrition – have missed 40 per cent of in-school meals, on average, since COVID-19 restrictions shuttered classrooms.
“Despite clear evidence that schools are not primary drivers of COVID-19 infections, millions of children are facing school closures around the world,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Children who depend on schools for their daily meals are not only losing out on an education but also on a reliable source of nutrition. As we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and await vaccine distribution, we must prioritize the reopening of schools and take action to make them as safe as possible, including through renewed investments in proven infection prevention measures like clean water and soap in every school around the world.”Nutrition crisis looms as more than 39 billion in-school meals missed since start of pandemic – UNICEF and WFP | World Food Programme