Experts question the impact of school closures

Experts question the impact of school closures

Experts question the impact of school closures

As a part of the UK lockdown, schools across the nation have closed to help slow the spread of Covid-19, but experts have questioned the impact of school closures.

A team of scientists at University College London have suggested that keeping pupils off school has little impact, even alongside other lockdown measures.

But a scientist whose work contributed to the UK strategy insists school closures play an important role.

While children can and have caught Covid-19, they rarely get severe symptoms. However, children are prone to spreading infections, which is why schools have closed.

The UK has one recorded child death from Covid-19, a 5-year-old with underlying health conditions.

Research shows that in the case of the Sars outbreak, which is another form of coronavirus, school closures did not contribute to the control of the epidemic.

Studies have predicted that school closures would prevent only 2%-4% of deaths, many fewer than other social distancing interventions.

Professor Russell Viner, said:

“Data on the benefit of school closures in the coronavirus outbreak is limited, but what we know shows that their impact is likely to be only small.

Additionally, the costs of national school closures are high – children’s education is damaged and their mental health may suffer, family finances are affected.

Policymakers need to be aware of the equivocal evidence.”

He says policymakers must weigh up the benefits as well as the damage caused, and reopen schools at the earliest opportunity – and not necessarily wait until September if it can be done safely sooner.

The UK government has said it will review the policy after Easter.


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