The damage will likely be defined by class differences.
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing schools to close down and operate online, researchers suspect that students will likely be set back for years.
While no one will know the exact long-term impacts for a long time, Wired reports that past school shutdowns caused by natural disasters or viral outbreaks led to fewer students graduating, earning degrees, or finding work. And, if history is any indicator, it will be poor students from underserved communities who suffer the most.
Wealthy students attending well-funded private schools are more likely to receive a full day's worth of online classes. But that's only the case for about ten percent of U.S. public schools, Wired reports. Meanwhile, teachers in unprivileged areas say their students are only getting up to one hour of education per day.
"Unfortunately, it's in the category of empirical research confirming the obvious,” Sam Sims, a research fellow at the UCL Institute of Education, told Wired. "When people don't go to school, they don't learn as much, and the longer they’re not at school for the more they don't learn."
Even aside from the direct setbacks of students losing access to physical classrooms, researchers are scrambling to figure out the psychological impact the pandemic will have on schoolchildren forced to stay home during formative periods of their childhoods.
"There are developmental differences in terms of how children are impacted by grief and loss, and how they understand it,” Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center professor Joy Osofsky told Wired.
READ MORE: This is how the school shutdown will affect children for many years [Wired]
More on digital education: America's Flimsy Broadband has Workers, Schoolchildren Isolated
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