COVID-19 and schools: what we can learn from six months of closures and reopening

This summary offers a pragmatic glance at the emerging results of an ongoing investigation to highlight the factors that guide decisions to reopen schools, and to keep them open. Data from 191 countries was collected over a seven-month period from February 10th to September 29th to analyse and compare decision-influencing features for primary and secondary education leaders at national and local levels.

Main points include:

  • No consistent pattern emerges between school status and COVID-19 infection rates.
  • Most countries in a second COVID-19 wave have opened schools again.
  • How to stay open is now the priority for many countries, with new approaches implemented to deal with COVID-19 in the classroom.
  • Nearly all countries keeping doors closed to students are still in their first wave of the pandemic and tend to be lower-income countries.

Significant differences in policy responses are observed based on where countries are in the COVID-19 infection cycle. Countries in a second or third wave of infection appear to act differently compared to those still in a first wave.


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