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Giving Compass' Take:
• Here are insights from Julia Wolfson, an assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan, and Roshanak Mehdipanah, an assistant professor of health behavior and health education, on the impact of school closures on student health.
• Wolfson mentions that one of the more concerning aspects of school closures is addressing the digital divide for low-income students. How are schools hoping to do this? Where can donor support help?
• Read more about the impact of school closures on low-income students.
Julia Wolfson, an assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan, studies food literacy/food agency, implementation of cooking skills education, and nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Roshanak Mehdipanah, an assistant professor of health behavior and health education, has studied urban renewal, housing, and policies aimed at eliminating health inequalities.
Here the two talk about what closing schools in response to the coronavirus could mean for kids’ health, both in the short and long term:
Some states have had to close schools for the rest of the academic year. What are the implications for students?
Mehdipanah: Adequate housing is not an option for all and for some students being at school is the only time they have to learn. For some that do have homes, these homes could be in inadequate conditions from overcrowding to lack of access to utilities, including electricity and water.
Wolfson: Closing schools for a long period of time has the potential to seriously exacerbate disparities between lower- and higher-income students.
Low-income students depend on schools for food and nutrition (up to two-thirds of their daily food intake), so long-term solutions to provide food to students who need it should be a priority.
Is there anything schools can do to help soften the blow from an academic standpoint?
Wolfson: Students who don’t have access to internet, computers, or other ways to access digital content will be at a serious disadvantage, so it is imperative that the state and local school districts figure out how to ensure that all students have the ability to continue learning during this time.
Read the full article about children's health by Nardy Baeza Bickel at Futurity.