Research on the Benefits and Costs of School Closures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is a classic wicked problem, with competing goals that must be traded off against each other in the context of a complex, constantly evolving situation.

Faced with such problems, the best leaders make the tradeoffs and explain their reasoning to the public. Unfortunately, during the COVID pandemic, citizens too often witnessed the sorry spectacle of public officials doing their best to pass the buck.

To often the buck ended up on the desk of public health officials, whose brief focused only on minimizing public health risks. They were not required to, and in practice did not, seek to either make or explain difficult tradeoffs between competing goals. Instead, they simply focused on minimizing the risk of infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2, regardless of the costs in other areas.

The following research which grows by the day, shows the true magnitude of those costs:

Projecting the potential impacts of COVID-19 school closures on academic achievement


The Economic Impact of Learning Losses

COVID-19 School Closures: Long-run Macroeconomic effects

Impact of School Closures on Learning, Child and Family Well-Being During
the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 Cost of School Closures

Women, Work, and Family During COVID-19: Findings from the KFF Women's Health Survey

The impact of COVID-19 childcare closures and women’s labour supply

School closures ‘sideline’ working mothers

COVID-19 and Resulting School Closures Could Set Back Women’s Workforce Gains for Years to Come

The Impact of COVID-19 on Women

What’s Next for Schools: Balancing the Costs of School Closures Against COVID-19 Health Risks

Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mental health effects of school closures during COVID-19

Impacts of school closures on physical and mental health of children and young people: a systematic review

School closures hit children’s mental health hard

Making sense of the research on COVID-19 and school reopenings

Model-based evaluation of school- and non-school-related measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic

Association Between Statewide School Closure and COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality in the US

COVID-19 Pandemic School Closure and Reopening Impacts

School closures reduced social mixing of children during COVID-19 with implications for transmission risk and school reopening policies

Impact of school closures for COVID-19 on the US health-care workforce and net mortality: a modelling study

The effects of school closures on SARS-CoV-2 among parents and teachers