Disruptions to instructional time in the classroom can have a severe impact on a child’s ability to learn. The longer marginalized children are out of school, the less likely they are to return.
Children from the poorest households are already almost five times more likely to be out of primary school than those from the richest. Being out of school also increases the risk of teenage pregnancy, sexual exploitation, child marriage, violence and other threats. Further, prolonged closures disrupt essential school-based services such as immunization, school feeding, and mental health and psychosocial support, and can cause stress and anxiety due to the loss of peer interaction and disrupted routines.
These negative impacts will be significantly higher for marginalized children, such as those living in countries affected by conflict and other protracted crises, migrants, the forcibly displaced, minorities, children living with disabilities, and children in institutions.
School reopenings must be safe and consistent with each country’s overall COVID-19 health response, with all reasonable measures taken to protect students, staff, teachers and their families.
The complete UNICEF document is available for download below: