Unplanned School Closures in the United States: Evaluation of Economic and Social Costs and Consequences for Students’ Families

Yenlik Zheteyeva, Margaret Coleman, JianRong Shi, Hongjiang Gao, Amra Uzicanin, Jeanette J. Rainey


School closures implemented pre-emptively, before the peak of influenza activity, are an effective mitigation strategy to slow disease transmission during influenza pandemic. Prolonged school closures may impose unintended economic and social costs to students families. To better understand this unintended impact, we conducted household surveys in five different regions of the United States following school closures implemented for various reasons. One of the primary challenges for families during unplanned school closures is making emergency childcare arrangements. While the most frequently childcare is provided by a non-working household member, this option is not available for families where all adults are employed full-time. Although disruption of subsidized school lunch program did not appear as a difficulty for the majority of eligible families during these school closures, more research might be needed on closures that last longer than 7 days. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/ojphi.v7i1.5727

Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 * http://ojphi.org