THE EFFECT OF CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK ON STUDENT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Non-pharmaceutical interventions and preventive measures such as social distancing and self-isolation have resulted in the widespread closure of primary, secondary, and tertiary schooling in over 100 countries.
Previous outbreaks of infectious diseases have resulted in widespread school closures all over the world, with varying degrees of success. Closing schools may delay the spread of an outbreak, according to mathematical modeling. However, the effectiveness is determined by the contacts that children maintain outside of school. School closures can be effective if implemented quickly.
If school closures are implemented too late in relation to an outbreak, they are less effective and may have no effect at all. Furthermore, the reopening of schools after a period of closure has resulted in increased infection rates in some cases. Because school closures frequently occur concurrently with other interventions such as public gathering bans, determining the specific impact of school closures can be difficult.
School closures and public gathering bans in the United States during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic were associated with lower total mortality rates. Cities that implemented such interventions earlier had a longer time to reach peak mortality rates.
According to a study of 43 US cities’ responses to the Spanish Flu, schools were closed for a median of four weeks. School closures were shown to reduce morbidity from the Asian flu by 90% during the 1957-58 outbreak, and by up to 50% in controlling influenza in the United States from 2004 to 2008.
During the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, multiple countries successfully slowed the spread of infection by closing schools. School closures in Oita, Japan, were found to successfully reduce the number of infected students at the peak of infection; however, school closures were not found to significantly reduce the total number of infected students.
School closures and other social distancing measures were associated with a 29% to 37% decrease in influenza transmission rates. Early school closings in the United States postponed the peak of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Despite the overall success of school closures, a Michigan study of school closures discovered that “district level reactive school closures were ineffective.”
During the 2009 swine flu outbreak in the United Kingdom, a group of epidemiologists endorsed school closures in an article titled “Closure of schools during an influenza pandemic” published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases in order to interrupt the course of the infection, slow further spread, and buy time to research and produce a vaccine.
After researching previous influenza pandemics such as the 1918 flu pandemic, the 1957 flu pandemic, and the 1968 flu pandemic, they reported on the economic and workforce impact of school closure, particularly given that a large percentage of doctors and nurses are women, with half having children under the age of 16.
They also investigated the dynamics of influenza spread in France during French school holidays, discovering that cases of flu decreased when schools closed and resurfaced when they reopened. They discovered that when Israeli teachers went on strike during the 1999-2000 flu season, visits to doctors and the number of respiratory infections decreased by more than a fifth and more than two fifths, respectively.