by Ethan Yang
The American Institute for Economic Research
As the school year approaches, there is much consideration over whether or not to close the K-12 system in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. These concerns come from a wide variety of constituencies, from parents to public officials to teachers. However, much like the overall discussion regarding COVID-19, this proposal is ill-informed and will likely lead to unintended consequences that will be far more severe than the problem it seeks to address.
School Closures Are a Time-Sensitive Policy
One of the first points to consider when approaching the question of closing schools is timing. Yale University sociologist Nicholas Christakis, a proponent of school closure, warns that although the policy could be beneficial it must be done very early. Furthermore, although Dr. Christakis certainly supports school closure if done at the correct time, he acknowledges that now