13.04.2020

Considering inequalities in the school closure response to COVID-19

As COVID-19 is declared a pandemic and several countries declare nationwide school closures, these measures are affecting hundreds of millions of children. School closures impede learning and compound inequities, disproportionately affecting disadvantaged children. School closures during the 2014–16 Ebola epidemic increased dropouts, child labour, violence against children, teen pregnancies, and persisting socioeconomic and gender disparities.
 
Access to distance learning through digital technologies is highly unequal, and subsidised meal programmes, vaccination clinics, and school nurses are essential to child health care, especially for marginalised communities.
 
Schools provide safeguarding and supervision, and closures increase the economic burden of families using day care or their reliance on vulnerable older relatives. Working parents might leave children unsupervised or forgo employment to stay at home with them.

Read full letter by Richard Armitage and Laura Nellums where they considered the long-term risks of deepening social, economic, and health inequities for children.

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