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PublicationComparing Policy Responses to COVID-19 among Countries in the Latin American and Caribbean Region(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-12-16) Allin, S.; Haldane, V.; Jamieson, M.; Marchildon, G.; Morales Vazquez, M.; Roerig, M.Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) accounts for over a quarter of the world's total cases, and a third of the total deaths, from the COVID-19 pandemic (1-3) (4). In the absence of a vaccine to prevent the transmission of the virus, LAC countries have introduced several public health, health system, and economic policies to reduce the spread and impacts of COVID-19 (4,5). However, contextual factors such as fragmented health systems, limited social safety nets, and high levels of informal employment and inequality have further challenged the response to the pandemic in many of these countries (4,6,7). Furthermore, these underlying conditions intensify the impact of COVID-19, particularly for the most disadvantaged, including the unemployed, informal, and low-income workers, many of whom live in overcrowded households (4,7). In this study, we aim to describe policy interventions in 10 LAC countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to compare these responses based on the experiences in two relatively high-performing jurisdictions, South Korea and Uruguay, and to support cross-jurisdictional policy learning for pandemic preparedness in the LAC region through knowledge exchange activities. PublicationCase Study on the Role of Primary Health Care in the SARS COV-2 Pandemic in Colombia: Initial Phase - Period of 11th of March to May 31st, 2020(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-12) World Bank GroupThe reforms of the Colombian Health System in the last decade have sought to position primary health care (PHC) as an essential strategy to guarantee integrated and comprehensive care of the population’s health needs. The Primary Health Care approach includes three integrated, interdependent components: health services, intersectoriality, and social participation in terms of empowering individuals, families and communities to take charge of their own health. Within this conceptual framework, Colombia has tackled the SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic formally announcedby the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. This report examines the role of PHC in Colombia›s preparation for, response to, and recovery from the pandemic. The main features of the pandemic affecting the country are described first, followed by observations stemming from analysis of the regulatory component, the healthcare services delivered, and the role of public health communication and surveillance. The report ends with conclusions on the analysis. PublicationGuidance Note on Using Learning Assessment in the Process of School Reopening(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-11-21) Luna Bazaldua, Diego; Liberman, JuliaAs countries consider how to reopen schools safely in the context of COVID-19 (coronavirus), one key question is how to assess students' learning to support learning recovery. The expected magnitude of learning losses, particularly among students with the highest needs, makes it essential for key stakeholders in the education process — policymakers, teachers, school principals, students, and their parents — to determine where students are in their learning trajectory relative to what had been expected prior to the pandemic, so they can adjust instruction and allocate resources accordingly. To collect this information, stakeholders can rely on student learning assessment, which is an essential feedback mechanism in the education system. This note provides key steps that countries with different availability of resources should consider in developing their plans for learning assessment activities to support learning recovery in the context of school reopening. Throughout this note, assessment of student learning is defined as gathering and evaluating information on what students know, understand, and can do to make informed decisions about the next steps in the educational process. In addition, some considerations and country examples for the implementation of high-stakes examinations are discussed. This note concludes with examples of learning assessment activities that countries around the world are planning or implementing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, this note highlights important lessons that can support resilience to future emergencies and crises. PublicationThe COVID-19 Pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy Responses(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-05-07) World BankEven before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was living a learning crisis. Before the pandemic, 258 million children and youth of primary- and secondary-school age were out of school. And low schooling quality meant many who were in school learned too little. The Learning Poverty rate in low-and middle-income countries was 53 percent—meaning that over half of all 10-year-old children couldn't read and understand a simple age appropriate story. Even worse, the crisis was not equally distributed: the most disadvantaged children and youth had the worst access to schooling, highest dropout rates, and the largest learning deficits. All this means that the world was already far off track for meeting Sustainable Development Goal 4, which commits all nations to ensure that, among other ambitious targets, “all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.” The COVID-19 pandemic now threatens to make education outcomes even worse. The pandemic has already had profound impacts on education by closing schools almost everywhere in the planet, in the largest simultaneous shock to all education systems in our lifetimes. The damage will become even more severe as the health emergency translates into a deep global recession. These costs of crisis are described below. But it is possible to counter those shocks, and to turn crisis into opportunity. The first step is to cope successfully with the school closures, by protecting health and safety and doing what they can to prevent students' learning loss using remote learning. At the same time, countries need to start planning for school reopening. That means preventing dropout, ensuring healthy school conditions, and using new techniques to promote rapid learning recovery in key areas once students are back in school. As the school system stabilizes, countries can use the focus and innovativeness of the recovery period to “build back better.” The key: don't replicate the failures of the pre-COVID systems, but instead build toward improved systems and accelerated learning for all students. PublicationProtecting People and Economies: Integrated Policy Responses to COVID-19(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-05) World BankThe COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a global health emergency and an unprecedented economic crisis of historic magnitude. Governments facing this threat are in uncharted territory, but three policy priorities addressed in this note are clear. Disease containment is a first-order concern to combat the pandemic, and measures such as testing and tracing, coupled with isolating and treating the infected can bring first-order gains. The economic crisis requires a parallel and simultaneous effort to save jobs, protect income, and ensure access to services for vulnerable populations. As governments act to slow the pandemic and protect lives and livelihoods now, they will need to maintain macro stability, continue to build trust, and communicate clearly to avoid deeper downturns and social unrest. Looking forward, this crisis can be an opportunity to rethink policy to build back with stronger systems for people and economies.