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The huge gamble: keeping schools shut might damage our children's prospects

Luke O'Neill


And it's still not clear whether closing schools was an important factor in slowing the spread of Covid, says Luke O'Neill

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If there is any blessing when it comes to Covid-19, it's that our children aren't dying. One thing we've learnt in the past four months (that's how recent it is) is that Covid-19 is mainly a disease of older people. The numbers behind it tell us that children are largely being spared.

One number when it comes to children, however, is striking. This is a virus that has put one-third of the world's population into quarantine. Unprecedented in human history. And a major part of that quarantine is keeping children home from school - 1.1 billion children are currently being kept out of school. This has never happened before, not even during World War II, so Covid-19 breaks yet another record.

And in spite of all the effort being put into home schooling using technology, there is evidence that teachers working remotely with their pupils can provide 40pc of the education that would normally be provided. Many fear that the most vulnerable are being left behind. Some countries are carefully reopening schools. These include China, Taiwan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.