School Closures and COVID-19: Impacts on children

Infographic: School Closures and COVID-19: Impacts on children
Description: School Closures and COVID-19: Impacts on children

School Closures and COVID-19: Impacts on children

In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, policy makers across Canada have employed remote learning approaches and closed schools. There can be unintended consequences associated with these measures, which may particularly affect the 5.7 million children and youth who attend primary or secondary school in Canada (2018/19).

Academic Impacts

  • The pandemic has disrupted two school years
  • School supports for children may be less accessible
  • Internet access and devices become critical

Some statistics

  • 58% of households with children do not have enough devices to support all members working or studying from home at the same time (2018)
  • 8% of children and youths aged 5-17 have a diagnosed learning disability (2019)

Vulnerable groups

  • Families without adequate internet access or devices
  • Families where no one can support home learning
  • Children with learning disabilities

Mental Impacts

  • Children feel isolated without peers
  • With reduced day-to-day interactions, in-school support for mental health may be less available

Some statistics

  • 64% of youth aged 15 to 24 reported a decrease in their mental health during the pandemic (2020)
  • 5% of children and youth aged 5-17 reported having a diagnosed anxiety disorder (2019)

Vulnerable groups

  • Children experiencing mental health challenges before the pandemic
  • Families who were experiencing mental or financial stress pre-pandemic

Socio-economic impacts

  • Parents may have to reduce work hours to support at-home learning
  • Possible lack of access to school meal programs

Some statistics

  • 11% of children and youths aged 0-17 live in low income (2018)
  • 44% percent increase in the number of employed mothers who were working less than half their usual hours in January 2021 compared with January 2020 (with a child under 13).

Vulnerable groups

  • Children living in low income
  • Children experiencing food insecurity

Physical Impacts

  • School as a safe space is no longer available
  • No access to structured physical activities offered in school
  • Increased screen time

Some statistics

  • 61% of children and youth aged 5-17 did not meet the physical activity guidelines (2016/17)
  • 22,299 children and youth aged 17 and younger were victimized by a family member; a parent (60%) was the most common perpetrator (2019)

Vulnerable groups

  • Children who mostly relied on school for physical activity
  • Children at risk of family violence

Equity and diversity:  Some populations or groups may be overrepresented among the most vulnerable

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