Canadian schools shut up to 135 days for COVID, and students suffered, study finds
COVID-19 school closures led to a decline in Canadian students’ academic performance, and they were implemented despite early evidence that the benefits would not outweigh the harms, concludes a new Fraser Institute study.
A new study by the Fraser Institute, a right-leaning non-partisan think tank, aimed to quantify the effects of COVID-era school closures in terms of lost learning time and whether there were appreciable public-health benefits to keeping kids at home.
“We won’t know the totality of the damage done by the school closures for some time, but what is clear is that governments didn’t use the best information available to them when deciding to close schools, and students have already suffered and will continue to pay the price,” said Paige MacPherson, associate director of education policy at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the study, in a statement.
At the outset of the pandemic, as public-health officials and politicians were flailing to come up with ways to bring down case counts, there was a remarkable lack of hard evidence about what to do. Initial responses had Canadians washing their vegetables when they came home from the grocery store, for example, for fear that the virus was transmitted by surface contamination.