COVID & Schools: New Research Shows Younger Children Most Scarred By Lockdowns
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This is our weekly update on how the pandemic is shaping schools and education policies. It has been reviewed by AEI Visiting Fellow John Bailey. You can find the complete archive by clicking here. Sign up for Newsletter to receive this weekly summary and daily updates in your inbox.
Younger Children Experiencing the Greatest Impact from COVID Lockdowns: According to The Guardian, recent research conducted in the UK reveals concerning findings. Teachers reported aggressive behavior such as biting and hitting, as well as difficulties in class and feeling overwhelmed in large groups of children. Claudine Bowyer-Crane of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research expressed worry, stating that children who started reception in 2020 are struggling in literacy and math, and a smaller percentage are achieving a good level of development. Teachers also mentioned that some infants now have low self-esteem and confidence, and more children feel overwhelmed by learning compared to before.
A child looks out a window on March 24, 2020, in New York City. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
The Important Updates — May 20, 2022
FDA Approves Pfizer Booster for 5- to 11-Year-Olds: The FDA and Pfizer have released statements confirming the authorization of booster shots for children aged 5 to 11. The New York Times reports that experts have suggested the need for booster shots for this age group since they initially received a lower dose than older children and adults. A study conducted in New York showed a significant decrease in the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness against infection, dropping from 68% to 12% four to five weeks after the second dose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisors recommended the booster for this age group, with Director Rochelle Walensky expected to approve the recommendation soon.
Related: Latest Updates on COVID Vaccines for Children, by Emily Oster.
Summer Costs on the Rise: Axios reveals that camp fees could increase by 10% to 15% compared to last year. Camp operators attribute this increase to higher expenses, including food, transportation staff, and insurance. As households face rising costs for everyday goods and services, camp operators are also grappling with additional financial burdens.
Enrollment Decline Poses Significant Challenge for Public Schools: The New York Times highlights the impact of declining enrollment on public schools. A national survey shows that public schools in the United States have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020. As school funding is often tied to enrollment numbers, districts are concerned about potential budget shortfalls. Although federal pandemic aid has provided temporary relief, the Biden administration has made it clear that this assistance is limited.
More from .
COVID Supplemental Funding: A top health official warns that the United States could face unnecessary COVID-related deaths if Congress fails to pass a funding bill. Dr. Ashish Jha, the new White House COVID response coordinator, emphasizes the need for financial resources to ensure vaccines for all Americans in the upcoming fall. Without adequate funding from Congress, the nation may experience avoidable losses.
Internet for All: The Biden administration has officially launched the "Internet for All Initiative," which aims to provide internet access for all Americans. This $45 billion initiative includes three Notices of Funding Opportunity and a new website: www.internetforall.gov.
City & State News
Arizona: Governor Doug Ducey is expected to receive two bills that restrict responses to future airborne-spreading diseases and abolish the requirement for schoolchildren to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Hawaii: Public school students participating in summer classes and related activities will be required to wear masks indoors.
Missouri: Attorney General Eric Schmitt is preparing to initiate a fresh set of lawsuits challenging the implementation of school mask mandates as districts reinstate these orders in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia School District has announced that individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not show any symptoms can continue attending school if they wear masks for a duration of 10 days, isolate themselves, and undergo virus testing if they begin to feel sick.
Omicron Variants: As per scientific research, Omicron has displayed a remarkable ability to evade the immune system. This characteristic is so pronounced that some experts argue it should be referred to as SARS-3, highlighting its distinct nature compared to previous variants.
Once again, South Africa is taking center stage in the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The sharp rise in cases, occurring just five months after the emergence of the Omicron variant, is driven by two new subvariants named BA.4 and BA.5, which were first detected by the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa in January.
Similar to earlier versions of Omicron, these subvariants possess a concerning ability to bypass immunity obtained through vaccination or previous infection. This poses a significant challenge for vaccine developers and raises apprehensions about the future course of the pandemic.
The rapid evolution of the Omicron variant presents a difficult dilemma for vaccine manufacturers and policymakers. It forces them to decide whether to shift their focus to the development of new vaccines or maintain the current formulations, which were designed based on the original virus that emerged in Wuhan, China over two years ago.
How America Lost 1 Million People: An extensive and highly informative article in the New York Times explores the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
The magnitude of the country’s loss is almost unfathomable. More Americans have succumbed to COVID-19 than in car accidents over a span of two decades or on battlefields throughout the country’s history.
Experts acknowledge that deaths were to be expected from a new virus with such severity and contagiousness. However, the toll of 1 million deaths is staggering, even for a country the size of the United States, and it is highly likely that the true number is even higher due to undercounting.
Multiple factors have contributed to this loss, including elected officials who downplayed the threat posed by the virus and resisted safety measures, an overwhelmed and fragmented healthcare system that struggled to handle testing, tracing, and treatment, and lower vaccination rates compared to other affluent nations. This lower rate is partly due to widespread skepticism and resistance fostered by right-wing media and politicians.
Omicron Tied to Croup in Children: A recent study indicates a correlation between the Omicron variant and an increase in croup cases among children. Boston Children’s Hospital diagnosed 75 children with COVID-19-associated croup between March 1, 2020, and January 15, 2022, with 61 of those cases (81%) occurring during the Omicron period.
Plaxovid Use Up 315% Over the Last Four Weeks: The Department of Health and Human Services reports a significant increase, amounting to 315%, in the utilization of the antiviral drug Plaxovid over the past four weeks.
3 ways to get COVID pills, if you’ve tested positive: NPR provides a comprehensive guide outlining three methods to acquire COVID pills for individuals who have tested positive for the virus.
COVID Vaccines May Reduce Omicron Hospitalizations in Youth: According to a study from CIDRAP, two recent observational studies in the United States demonstrate the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron variant. One study reveals a 71% efficacy rate in preventing infection among 12- to 15-year-olds after receiving a third vaccine dose. The second study indicates lower infection and hospitalization risks in vaccinated individuals aged 5 to 17 in New York state.
The Pandemic Changed the Plans of Many 2022 High School Graduates: In an article by Bruno Manno, it is revealed that nearly 28% of high school seniors from the class of 2022 have altered their post-graduation plans due to the pandemic. This percentage has increased from 18% in a previous survey conducted in spring 2020.
Approximately 74% of the 2022 seniors express a desire to pursue higher education, despite encountering new challenges. One 12th-grade white girl shares her disappointment, stating that COVID-19 has disrupted her life plans, preventing her from attending college or obtaining a specific job due to her aversion to vaccination.
Fewer 2022 seniors report participating in career counseling and college financial counseling compared to 2019. This decline is more significant among Hispanic, multi-racial, male, and rural school students.
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