The European Union’s CDC warned the world about the consequences of lengthy school closures in March 2020.
Potential harms were clearly articulated.
On March 12, 2020, as pandemic panic was sweeping across the globe, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) tweeted a technical report entitled “Considerations relating to social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.”
The report proposed a variety of social distancing measures that European Union/European Economic Area countries (EU/EEA) could deploy to slow the spread. Included among the potential measures was closing schools.
At the end of the report, “considerations and potential barriers” to the proposed social distancing measures were discussed. For closing educational institutions, the ECDC authors noted the following potential problems. I’ve linked to “receipts” documenting the ECDC’s prescience.
1) Need to ensure continuity of education, but be aware of unequal access to digital education.
2) Dropout rates may increase while schools and universities are closed.
3) Social isolation because education institutions are a hub of social activity and human interaction.
4) Community and financial pressures to remain open.
5) Parents may miss work and will incur financial losses; some may lose their jobs, which could disproportionately affect one-parent households.
6) Adverse effect on health system because a significant percentage of women work in the health sector and may need to stay home to care for children.
7) Adverse effect on children’s nutrition because many rely on meals provided at schools.