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Early research reveals pandemic effects on education

March 18, 2021

A recent Economic Commentary from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland reviews the early research surrounding the effects of the pandemic on education and examines three specific areas of concern: the spread of the virus through in-person school settings; the impact of K-12 school closures on labor force participation; and, the effects of virtual schooling on student outcomes.

The commentary posits that the evidence thus far does not find much evidence supporting the claim that school closures have reduced labor force participation, but also notes that the research on those outcomes studied the impacts of the initial school closures in spring 2020 and that fall 2020 and spring 2021 may differ. In fact, recent research from the U.S. Census Bureau runs counter to these findings and instead says many moms have left the workforce, with nearly 705,000 giving up on work outside the home entirely. 

The commentary found that the spread of the virus at K-12 schools has been low, although it may be higher at colleges. And lastly, the fed commentary says that there is evidence that the pandemic is negatively affecting students’ academic performance.

education, labor force