One of the most serious consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the disruption of children’s education worldwide with the closure of schools for public health reasons. Projections from UNESCO Institute for Statistics show that nearly 100 million children across eight age cohorts would move below the minimum proficiency threshold in reading in 2020 due to the pandemic (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2021). Both current studies and experience of school closures due to previous similar crises, such as the Ebola epidemic, show that COVID-19 closures risk exacerbating vulnerabilities for those who are already disadvantaged (Azevedo et al., 2021). This includes lack of access to the vital nutrition provided by school nutrition programs (Borkowski et al., 2021); exposure to violence at home; early marriages and pregnancies for girl children (De Paz et al., 2020); lack of social interaction (Larsen et al., 2021); and deepening inequalities for those without access to the Internet (United Nations Children’s Fund & International Telecommunication Union, 2020).
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