Although COVID-19 has not posed significant health threats to children, there are still many consequences the pandemic can serve to the younger population. According to a 2017 study by Fothergill, kids can sense a change in their environment- the same way adults can. There is no doubt that the pandemic will have long lasting effects beyond physical health, and children may be at the front lines of this.
Beyond academic support, schools provide many benefits to children. Extended social distancing
practices mean that children may miss out on the myriad of services school offer. These include physical and mental wellness check-ups, routine physical activity, external adult guidance, access to technology, clean water intake, and much more.
A 2019 overview of established school based health centers (SBHCs) shows that the services centers provide assisted over 6 millions students spanning across 11,000 schools (Love, Schlitt, Soleimanpour, Panchal and Behr 2019). Even today, many SBHCs are stepping in to provide meals, as schools may be the only thing to stand between children and food insecurity.
Major disruptions to learning- including rates of homelessness, violence, and unemployment, will rise. Traditional support provided by schools will be compromised and picking up the pieces along the way will become the responsibility of many educational providers.
Fothergill, Alice. (2017). Children, Youth, and Disaster. Natural Hazard Science, 10.1093/acrefore/9780199389407.013.23
Love, Hayley E., Schlitt, John., Soleimanpour, Samira., Panchal, Nirmita., and Behr, Caroline. (2019). Twenty Years Of School-Based Health Care Growth And Expansion. Health Affairs, 38(5), doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05472