The Impact of COVID-19 School Closure on Child and Adolescent Health: A Rapid Systematic Review
Abstract: School closures during pandemics raise important concerns for children and adolescents. Our aim is synthesizing available data on the impact of school closure during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on child and adolescent health globally. We conducted a rapid systematic review by searching PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar for any study published between January and September 2020. We included a total of ten primary studies. COVID-19-related school closure was associated with a significant decline in the number of hospital admissions and pediatric emergency department visits. However, a number of children and adolescents lost access to school-based healthcare services, special services for children with disabilities, and nutrition programs. A greater risk of widening educational disparities due to lack of support and resources for remote learning were also reported among poorer families and children with disabilities. School closure also contributed to increased anxiety and loneliness in young people and child stress, sadness, frustration, indiscipline, and hyperactivity. The longer the duration of school closure and reduction of daily physical activity, the higher was the predicted increase of Body Mass Index and childhood obesity prevalence. There is a need to identify children and adolescents at higher risk of learning and mental health impairments and support them during school closures.
Keywords: school closure / rapid systematic review / COVID-19 / child and adolescent health
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