Counting the cost: COVID-19 school closures in South Africa and its impact on children

South African Journal of Childhood Education

Field Value
Title Counting the cost: COVID-19 school closures in South Africa and its impact on children
Creator Spaull, Nic van der Berg, Servaas
Subject Education policy; Economics of education schooling and COVID-19; coronavirus; South Africa; school closures; socioeconomic impact of school closures
Description Background: When the new coronavirus rapidly spread across the globe, the impact of the virus on children was still unclear, and closing schools seemed the responsible thing to do. But much has been learnt since about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the effects of lockdown and school closures, both in South Africa and internationally.Aim: It shows that the mortality risk of the virus is extremely small for children, even when assuming an extremely pessimistic scenario for total COVID-19 deaths.Setting: We review the evidence at a national level in South Africa using nationally-representative datasets.Methods: This article offers evidence drawn from nationally representative household surveys, school surveys and administrative datasets, as well as research reports.Results: International evidence predominantly shows that children are not important transmitters of this virus, which is different from the case for influenza, for example. We show that there are considerable costs to the lockdown for children. These relate to foregone leaning opportunities, mental health, nutrition and physical health.Conclusion: We show that re-opening the economy whilst keeping schools closed results in many unintended consequences, including that children are at higher risk of being left home alone. Considering all of this, we propose that all children should return to schools, crèches and early childhood development (ECD)centres without any further delay.
Publisher AOSIS
Contributor Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment
Date 2020-12-07
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Overview research
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajce.v10i1.924
Source South African Journal of Childhood Education; Vol 10, No 1 (2020); 13 pages 2223-7682 2223-7674
Language eng
The following web links (URLs) may trigger a file download or direct you to an alternative webpage to gain access to a publication file format of the published article:
Coverage South Africa Contemporary South Africa NA
Rights Copyright (c) 2020 Nic Spaull, Servaas van der Berg