The effect of emergency-ordered school closing, learning loss and mask mandates on children

Aug 17, 2022

Yesterday we published our study revealing Washington’s school closure policy caused children significant learning losses, mental and psychological stress, and reduced lifetime earnings.

Utah, Florida, Nebraska, Texas and many other states safely reopened to in-person instruction in September 2020 as well as schools in 20 countries including Demark, Britain, France, Japan and Finland. By contrast, Washington State’s schools were 47th in the nation to reopen traditional public schools.

Here is a link to the full study:

Here are the Key Findings:

1.  The governor’s decision to close public schools for nearly two years in response to COVID-19 significantly affected Washington’s 1.1 million public school students.

2.  Research shows many students suffered long-term learning loss and psychological and emotional harm, resulting in limited future opportunities in life.

3.  State test scores show public schools failed to adequately educate 70 percent of students in math and 52 percent of students in English.

4.  Low-income students were most severely affected, with 8,700 fewer such students applying for state-funded college scholarships.

5. Some public schools have dropped standard grading and are automatically passing all students, regardless of the true level of learning they have received.

6. High school students suffered academic, mental and social harms due to enforced isolation from normal community, athletic and school-related activities.

7.  Public health findings show the negative educational and social effects of shut-down orders were greater for this very low-risk group than the limited risk of exposure to COVID-19.

8. The 1.1 million students who attend public schools are being automatically promoted to the next grade.