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School Closures' Economic Impact, Mask Challenges, Germany's School Reopenings

By Net Assets posted 09-15-2020 08:47 AM


(From The 74 Million) A new report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates school closures in the U.S. could ultimately amount to a loss of almost $14.2 trillion over the next 80 years. Another three months of learning losses could stretch that figure to almost $28 trillion. Drawing from surveys and data gathered before the appearance of COVID-19, the OECD puts issues such as education spending and students’ use of technology in the context of what schools have experienced since March. The researchers also notes that the effects of the pandemic on education spending could be long-lasting, as the pandemic will lead to slower growth in government spending in the coming year.

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(From The New York Times) Do masks impede children’s development? Researchers from the University of Toronto and the Yale Child Study Center, who have studied the development of facial recognition skills in children, say masks may pose problems for children in interacting with classmates or teachers. That’s because people display much of their emotional information through the movement of facial musculature that would be obscured by a mask, and children may have issues with emotional recognition and social interaction. Additionally, kids under the age of 12 may have difficulty recognizing people, because they often focus on individual features, and other children may have problems with speech recognition.

However, researchers also say that the time children spend at home with people who are not masked will give them a chance to practice picking up the visual cues, and that parents and teachers can help children take full advantage of the information that they do get, such as by encouraging children to communicate more through gestures.

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(From The Washington Post) German schools, reopened a month ago, have seen no major coronavirus outbreaks following an initial wave of closures and quarantines in August, ­according to Germany’s Robert Koch Institute. Though the number of new daily cases in Germany has been rising, health experts say there have been few transmissions within schools themselves. On the whole, Germany’s experience over the past month is consistent with what European schools observed in the spring, to the extent that they were back in session after the first wave of the virus. So far, epidemiologists say they are optimistic and more concerned about the possibility of virus spread in high schools than among younger children.

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