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Ten million kids ‘may never return to school’ after virus

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The coronavirus pandemic has caused an “unprecedented education emergency” with up to 9.7 million children affected by school closures at risk of never going back to class, Save the Children warned Monday.

The British charity cited UNESCO data showing that in April, 1.6 billion young people were shut out of school and university due to measures to contain COVID-19 — about 90 percent of the world’s entire student population.

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“For the first time in human history, an entire generation of children globally have had their education disrupted,” it said in a new report, Save our Education.

It said the economic fall-out of the crisis could force an extra 90 to 117 million children into poverty, with a knock-on effect on school admissions.

With many young people required to work or girls forced into early marriage to support their families, this could see between seven and 9.7 million children dropping out of school permanently.

At the same time, the charity warned the crisis could leave a shortfall of $77 billion in education budgets in low and middle income countries by the end of 2021.

“Around 10 million children may never return to school — this is an unprecedented education emergency and governments must urgently invest in learning,” Save the Children chief executive Inger Ashing said.

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“Instead we are at risk of unparalleled budget cuts which will see existing inequality explode between the rich and the poor, and between boys and girls.”

The charity urged governments and donors to invest more funds behind a new global education plan to help children back into school when it is safe and until then support distance learning.

“We know the poorest, most marginalized children who were already the furthest behind have suffered the greatest loss, with no access to distance learning — or any kind of education — for half an academic year,” Ashing said.

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Save the Children also urged commercial creditors to suspend debt repayments for low-income countries — a move it said could free up $14 billion for education programs.

“If we allow this education crisis to unfold, the impact on children’s futures will be long lasting,” Ashing said.

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“The promise the world has made to ensure all children have access to a quality education by 2030, will be set back by years, ” she said, citing the United Nations goal.

The report listed 12 countries where children are most at risk of falling behind: Niger, Mali, Chad, Liberia, Afghanistan, Guinea, Mauritania, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

Before the crisis, an estimated 258 million children and adolescents were already missing out on school, the charity said.

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COVID-19

What we know so far about COVID-19 and children

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President Donald Trump has been censored on Facebook and Twitter after saying children are "almost immune" from COVID-19. What do the facts say?

We know for sure children are less likely to fall seriously ill from the coronavirus, and emerging evidence suggests they're less likely to be infected too.

What's less clear is how much they spread the virus once infected.

- Children rarely become seriously ill -

Under-18s have accounted for just two percent of hospitalized COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of all deaths in the United States, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Angst-ridden Republicans should have acted when Trump put his reelection above national security concerns: conservative columnist

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, columnist Jennifer Rubin says that Senate Republicans are in serious trouble, especially in light of the stimulus bill they rolled out this week.

According to Rubin, the Senate GOP is in dire straits because "they have allowed the anti-government, anti-science Trump sycophants to disclaim any interest in the bill, thereby handing the reins to Democrats."

Rubin writes that some Republicans saying they want to see essential workers being taken care of in the bill are speaking up too late. "If only they they had some power in February to remove the unfit and corrupt president from office, instead of leaving him there to purge witnesses from his administration, seek vengeance on foes, force out inspectors general and botch the response to the coronavirus," Rubin writes.

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Anti-mask GOP lawmaker mocks Ohio governor for testing positive for coronavirus

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Notoriously anti-mask Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale gloated after Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Urbana Republican has questioned masks and opposed other public safety measures imposed by DeWine, also a Republican, and ridiculed the governor after he tested positive for the potentially deadly virus ahead of meeting President Donald Trump.

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