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4 Data Points That Reveal How Badly Covid School Policies Harmed Kids

A growing body of research has revealed the extent of the harm being done to American children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SO WHAT

Administrators should think twice before going ahead with another round of school closures.

THE PROBLEM

The “crushing impact” of COVID-19 policies on children is the biggest underreported story of 2021, reporter Jan Crawford said during a year-end panel Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Despite having extremely low risk for COVID-19-related serious illness or death, healthy children and teens have been subjected to strict prevention measures.

  • According to Crawford, the “tremendous negative impact” these measures have had on kids has been “an afterthought.”

THE NUMBERS

To understand what Crawford was talking about, take a look at four statistics from this year.

1. Childhood obesity: 

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published in September, expected annual weight gain among severely obese kids increased from 8.8 pounds before the pandemic, to 14.6 pounds in August of last year.

2. A mental health crisis: 

“The COVID-19 pandemic further altered their experiences at home, school and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a statement earlier this month, when he issued an advisory on the youth mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.

3. Learning loss:

A March study conducted by Horace Mann Educators found that nearly all K-12 teachers surveyed said the pandemic had led to educational backsliding for students.

  • Other research has suggested pandemic-related learning setbacks disproportionately affect black, Hispanic and poor children.

4. Masking:

5. Speech delays:

Jaclyn Theek, a clinic director and speech-language pathologist at the Speech and Learning Institute in North Palm Beach, Florida, told West Palm Beach Florida News that before the pandemic only 5% of patients were babies and toddlers.

  • Post-pandemic that figure has jumped to 20%.
  • According to Reuters, experts say there is not yet “significant evidence to confirm masks cause speech development delays in children.”
  • But Theek is convinced masks have played a role.

“There’s no research out there yet saying that this [masking] could be causing speech and language delays. But, most definitely, I’m sure it’s a factor,” she said.

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