School closures are not evidence-based and harm children

March 2021

An editorial by Sarah J. Lewis, Alasdair P.S. Munro, George Davey Smith and Allyson M. Pollock entitled »Closing schools is not evidence-based and harms children« was published in the British Medical Journal on 24 February 2021.

It states, among other things: 

Some 8.8 million school children in the UK have experienced severe disruption to their education as a result of two consecutive years of prolonged school closures and failed national examinations. School closures were introduced internationally with insufficient evidence of their role in minimising COVID-19 transmission and insufficient consideration of the harm to children.

For some children, education is the only route out of poverty; for others, school provides a safe haven away from a dangerous or chaotic home life. Learning deficits, reduced social interaction, isolation, reduced physical activity, increased mental health problems and the potential for increased abuse, exploitation and neglect have been linked to school closures. Lower future income and life expectancy are also associated with less education. Children with special educational needs or children who are already disadvantaged are at increased risk. The Children's Commissioner for England's 2019 report estimates that 2.3 million children in England in unsafe home environments face violence, drug or alcohol abuse or severe mental health problems from their parents. These long-term harmful influences are likely to be magnified by further school closures.

The overall risk to children and adolescents from COVID-19 is very low, and hyperinflammatory syndrome is extremely rare. Studies are underway to examine the impact of post-Covid syndrome in children.

Although school closures reduce the number of contacts of children, potentially reducing transmission, a study of 12 million adults in the UK in households with or without children found no difference in the risk of dying from COVID-19. Only 3% of those over 65 live with children.

Learning at school increases teachers' exposure and one might expect their risk of becoming infected to increase, but accumulating evidence shows that teachers and school staff are not at higher risk of hospitalisation or death from COVID-19 compared to other workers. Teacher absenteeism due to confirmed COVID-19 illness was similar in primary and secondary schools in England during the autumn term, although secondary school pupils have a much higher rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, teacher absenteeism decreased in regions with tighter restrictions (»Tier 3«) during the November closure, although schools remained open.

The original editorial can be accessed here. 

All news in this category

A look toward Agri-Culture of the Future

Demeter International Members’ Assembly held in Finland adopts mission paper. [more]

The deeper causes of migration

Management consultant Udo Herrmannstorfer argues that the causes of the refugee flows are not only connected with the life-threatening situations in... [more]

The challenge of Waldorf

Being a Waldorf teacher is a challenge which means that Waldorf education in China has found it difficult to retain teachers. Two courses run by... [more]

Selling out education: the mass academisation of England’s schools

Plans of the British government to force schools out of local authority control to become independent academies have proved controversial. It could... [more]

When friends fall out: German organic pioneers fight over Alnatura brand rights

The founders of the dm pharmacy chain and the organic business Alnatura are facing one another across court in a dispute about brand rights. But what... [more]

Waldorf education in Slovenia

Waldorf education in Slovenia has now a tradition of 24 years and is very well accepted in society, has a good reputation, good working conditions... [more]

'The history of the world is the judgement of the world'

The international Waldorf movement, with its Middle European roots and traditions, has spread to every culture and religion in the world. What is an... [more]

Graduate College for Waldorf Education - Scholarships

The Graduate College for Waldorf Education at Alanus University supports research, the promotion of doctoral students, the advancement of academic... [more]

Teaching the Whole Child: Waldorf Schools and Exemplary Teacher Engagement

Waldorf schools take an unconventionally nurturing approach to learning, making them a unique approach to education. Initially, some viewed the... [more]

SEKEM a lighthouse project: Ibrahim Abouleish receives accolade of German governorate Baden-Württemberg

„By Dr. Abouleish’s living vision SEKEM became a lighthouse project, receiving recognition all over the world and building a role model for other... [more]

Displaying results 41 to 50 out of 127

< Previous

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Next >

Follow