Education recommendations provoked by the coronavirus pandemic appear to be spreading as rapidly as the virus itself. However, few appear to be based on evidence of school systems that have actually experienced a shutdown.
In truth, until a month ago it seemed that much of the education world wasn’t especially curious about the effects of disease outbreaks such as H1N1 or Ebola, despite the extraordinary efforts of those directly involved. Our collective complacency now appears somewhat misguided, as we all rapidly try to learn from the past in order to adapt to our current reality.
To inform the education sector’s responses to COVID-19, DFID’s Knowledge for Development program has commissioned a number of rapid reviews. My report focuses on efforts to mitigate the educational impact of previous disease outbreaks, concentrating on school-age learners. Almost all the literature relates to Ebola, and its impact in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
As we might expect, these disease outbreaks have negative impacts on children’s learning, safety and wellbeing. The table below, adapted from ACAP’s model, summarizes them.