School closures during lockdown significantly harm children, review finds

School closures during lockdown significantly harm children, review finds
Rise in psychological distress caused by widespread school closures is concerning, 専門家は言う

子供達 and young people’s mental wellbeing was significantly harmed by school closures during COVID-19 lockdowns, according to a new international 調査.

During the first wave of the pandemic, researchers found up to 60 per cent of young people scored above thresholds for risk of psychological difficultieshigher than that recorded pre-pandemic.

The study said findings mean governments should “think twice” before shutting schools as part of any future lockdown strategy.

The review of data, published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal on Monday, also suggested that children’s mental state worsened the longer the lockdown lasted, but was less pronounced in students who had a poorer connection to their school pre-Covid-19.

Researchers from University College London, Columbia University in New York, Glasgow Caledonian University and Lazio Regional Health Service in Rome, reviewed data from high, middle and low-income countries.

Lead author, Professor Russell Viner of UCL’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, 前記: “The rise in psychological distress caused by widespread school closures is concerning, particularly as evidence is mounting that schools are lower risk for the spread of Covid-19.

“While impacts such as a loss of learning and lack of access to meals and psychological support delivered through schools could have been anticipated, the reduction in social contact and loss of physical activity linked to school closures have been hugely detrimental to children, both mentally and physically.”

Prof Viner added: "一緒, this data speaks to a failure of nations to protect children and young people during the first Covid-19 wave while resources were targeted toward elderly individuals.

“With this evidence in mind, any future school closures must take into account not only the potential benefits to the wider population of reduced transmission, but also the considerable harm that closures cause to children and young people.”

According to the review of data, rises in psychological distress were accompanied by an escalation of unmet mental health need during lockdowns.

As access to health care was markedly reduced internationally during the first wave of Covid-19, evidence suggests there was a 50 に 65 per cent reduction in presentations for self-harm, そして 40 per cent reductions in psychiatric admission.

High quality UK and Chinese studies also suggest that around a quarter of children and young people developed significant sleeping difficulties during the pandemic, consistent with and potentially contributing to the psychological problems found elsewhere.

Alongside these issues was a marked reduction in the ability of health and social care systems to protect children in many countries, as shown by the large falls in child protection referrals seen in high-quality cohort studies.

Co-author, Nina Schwalbe, adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 前記: “This study points to why it so critical to understand the indirect effects of policy choices – in particular the effects they have on children and youth.

“Long past the end of this pandemic we will see the lasting consequences of indirect effects of policy on young people.”

Researchers analysed a total of 43 studies from 12 国, 合計で 104,360 individuals included in the analysis.

Of these studies, 18 were high quality, 19 were medium quality, そして 6 were low quality. Causes of school closures were the first wave of Covid-19 in all cases, with the exception of five influenza studies (11.6 per cent of the overall total).

The findings were published as the World Health Organisation and Unicef urged leaders across Europe and Asia to keep schools open as the new term begins.

“The pandemic has caused the most catastrophic disruption to education in history,” said Hans Kluge, the head of the WHO’s Europe region. “It is vital that classroom-based learning continues uninterrupted.”

WHO said that 44 から 55 countries in its Europe region closed schools nationwide at the outset of the pandemic in April last year. There were further shutdowns amid surging infections.

Mr Kluge added that educating children and keeping them in schools must become a “primary objective” for governments as the pandemic continues.

Philippe Cori, deputy regional director for UNICEF Europe and Central Asia, 前記: “The pandemic is not over…Children and youth cannot risk having another year of disrupted learning. Vaccination and protective measures together will help prevent a return to the darkest days of the pandemic when people had to endure lockdowns and children had to experience disruption of learning.”


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