Politics

COVID School Closures Caused Learning Loss, But Some Slowed Spread

On Tuesday’s edition of NBC’s “Hallie Jackson Reports,” host Hallie Jackson discussed a new study on the learning loss caused by COVID school closures and acknowledged that politics played a role in school closure policies, but also stated that people under 20 were “not necessarily less likely to spread” the virus and “experts we spoke with say the impact on stopping the spread depends on the school.”

Jackson said, “New research finding what does happen: The shutdowns coming at a steep cost to students, start with the learning loss, a study led by researchers at Harvard and Stanford found school districts that spent most of the 2020-2021 school year remote saw students fall more than half a grade behind in math on average, more than districts that spent most of the year in-person. Lower-income students ended up hurt the most, whether they went back to school sooner or stayed mostly at home that year. Politics also playing a role, Republican-led states re-opening faster than those run by Democrats.”

She added, “Question is, did closures slow COVID down? Data we now have shows people under 20 were half as likely to catch COVID, but not necessarily less likely to spread it. And experts we spoke with say the impact on stopping the spread depends on the school.”

She then played video of Pediatrics-Infectious Diseases Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Dr. Sean O’Leary stating, “By the summer of 2020, we did have some data from — primarily from Europe showing that kids could be safely in school. But again, circumstances, some schools were able to do that. Other schools just simply could not do it.”

Jackson then stated, “But the academic damage is done. And even now, national test scores from spring 2023 show students 3rd through 8th grade overall have not rebounded from what they lost in math.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett



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