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Two years ago schools shut down around the world. These are the biggest impacts (kqed.org)

 

Two years ago this month, schools closed their doors in 185 countries. According to UNESCO, roughly 9 out of 10 schoolchildren worldwide were out of school. It would soon be the biggest, longest interruption in schooling since formal education became the norm in wealthier countries in the late 19th century.

At thetime, I spoke with several experts in the field of research known as "education in emergencies." They gave their predictions for the long-term implications of school closures in the United States based on the research on previous school interruptions caused by war, refugee crises, natural disasters and previous epidemics.

Prediction: Student learning will suffer. Vulnerable and marginalized students will be most affected.

Verdict: TRUE

In the United States, compared with wealthy countries in Western Europe and East Asia, schools were typically closed longer. A majority of Black, Hispanic and Asian students stayed remote through early 2021.

Prediction: Children are at risk for toxic stress when schools close.

Verdict: TRUE

Schools provide food, safety, relationships, stability and hope for most children around the world. Conversely, school closures tend to take place in the context of massive social upheaval. The pandemic was no exception. At least 175,000 children were bereaved or orphaned in the U.S.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and the nation's pediatricians are calling youth mental health a"crisis" and an"emergency." In October 2021, teachers told pollsters that children's mental health was their top concern. Eighty percent of parents in a more recent poll are worried about their own kids' well-being.

To read more of Anya Kamenetz' article, please click here.

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