What medical experts are saying about school reopening

What medical experts are saying about school closures and our kids' mental health

What studies are saying about the impact of school closures on low-income & minority students


“CDC recommends that K–12 schools be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures have been employed and the first to reopen when they can do so safely.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 13, 2021


“What we should do is everything to support the maintenance of the children in school. If you really want to get society back to some form of normality, one of the first things we have to do is to get the children back in school.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, December 31, 2020


"We've learned that schools are safer than we thought, and we learned that the consequences of keeping them closed are worse than what we thought. …Schools are safer than we had feared particularly with young kids ages 5-12. They don't carry the virus as much. They don't spread it as much.” – Dr. Robert Wachter, Chair of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, December 8, 2020


“Our cohort study demonstrated that enforcing SARS-CoV-2 mitigation policies such as masking, physical distancing, and hand hygiene, resulted in minimal clusters of SARS-CoV-2 infection and low rates of secondary transmission in schools, and did not cause a larger community infection burden. Our data indicate that schools can reopen safely if they develop and adhere to specific SARS-CoV-2 prevention policies.” – American Academy of Pediatrics, January 6, 2021


“…we see no indication that in-person school reopenings have increased COVID-19 hospitalizations in the counties below 36-44 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 population per week (this is roughly the 75 percent of U.S. counties as of October, the most recent month of data available). Neither the levels nor the trends change in any direction when schools open in this group, even as far as 6 weeks after schools reopened. In fact, we often see precise estimates suggesting declines in hospitalizations in these low- baseline COVID-19 counties…” – National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH), Tulane University, January 4, 2021


“Among children and adolescents aged <18 years in Mississippi, close contact with persons with COVID-19 and gatherings with persons outside the household and lack of consistent mask use in school were associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereas attending school or child care was not associated with receiving positive SARS-CoV-2 test results.” - Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 18, 2020



“The Emergency Department at Benioff Children’s Hospital-Oakland reported a temporal increase in the proportion of all children and youth (10 to 17 years) who reported suicidal ideation, from 6% in March 2020 to 16% in September 2020.” – Letter signed by Jeanne Noble, MD, MA and UCSF Health Professionals, January 12, 2021


“Beginning in April 2020, the proportion of children’s mental health–related ED visits among all pediatric ED visits increased and remained elevated through October. Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health–related visits for children aged 5–11 and 12–17 years increased approximately 24%. and 31%, respectively.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 13, 2020


“More mental and social health complaints during the COVID-19 lockdown were found in children and adolescents growing up in a single-parent family, having ≥three children in the family, a negative change in work situation of parents due to COVID-19 regulations, and having a relative/friend infected with COVID-19.” – University of Amsterdam and Emma Children’s Hospital, November 4, 2020


“Since March 2020, 27% of parents reported worsening mental health for themselves, and 14% reported worsening behavioral health for their children. …Worsening mental health for parents occurred alongside worsening behavioral health for children in nearly 1 in 10 families, among whom 48% reported loss of regular child care, 16% reported change in insurance status, and 11% reported worsening food security.” – American Academy of Pediatrics, October 2020


“Although social isolation is not necessarily synonymous with loneliness, early indications in the COVID-19 context indicate that more than one-third of adolescents report high levels of loneliness and almost half of 18- to 24-year olds are lonely during lockdown.” – Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, June 2, 2020


“Since their school buildings closed, young people’s levels of concern about the present and future have increased, and indicators of overall health and wellbeing have suffered. For example, 30% of young people say they have more often been feeling unhappy or depressed, and nearly as many say they are much more concerned than usual about having their basic needs met.” – America’s Promise Alliance, June 2020


“These findings suggest that the decision to close US public primary schools in the early months of 2020 may be associated with a decrease in life expectancy for US children.” - University of Washington, Seattle and University of California, Los Angeles, November 12, 2020



“There has been significant learning loss in both English Language Arts and Math, with students in earlier grades most affected. The equity impact is severe—certain student groups, especially low-income students and English language learners, are falling behind more compared to others.” - PACE, January 25, 2021


“Over three-quarters of low-income students reported four or fewer hours of live instruction per week. Many students have had no live contact with their teachers; almost 40 percent of African American students reported no live contact.” - Public Policy Institute of California, October 2020


“Only 30 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools reported that all or nearly all of their students had access to the internet at home, compared with 83 percent of teachers in low-poverty schools.” - RAND Corporation, 2020


“Parents of students in the top quartile of household income as well as the parents of white students report greater availability and use of both fully in-person and hybrid instruction than do parents of students in the bottom income quartile and the parents of Black and Hispanic students. Meanwhile, parents of low-income students and parents of Black and Hispanic students are far more likely to report that their child is fully remote.” - Education Next, Harvard University, Winter 2021


“Using the middle (virus resurgence) epidemiological scenario, in which large-scale in-class instruction does not resume until January 2021, we estimated the economic impact of the learning disruption. (The results would, of course, be worse in the third scenario and better in the first.) All told, we estimate that the average K–12 student in the United States could lose $61,000 to $82,000 in lifetime earnings (in constant 2020 dollars), or the equivalent of a year of full-time work, solely as a result of COVID-19–related learning losses. These costs are significant—and worse for black and Hispanic Americans. While we estimate that white students would earn $1,348 a year less (a 1.6 percent reduction) over a 40-year working life, the figure is $2,186 a year (a 3.3 percent reduction) for black students and $1,809 (3.0 percent) for Hispanic ones.” - McKinsey & Company, June 1, 2020


“Black and Hispanic students continue to be more likely to remain remote and are less likely to have access to the prerequisites of learning—devices, internet access, and live contact with teachers. Left unaddressed, these opportunity gaps will translate into wider achievement gaps.” - McKinsey & Company, December 8, 2020