The decision to shut down schools in the name of COVID precaution was controversial and unprecedented. A shift to virtual learning had many apprehensive about the social and academic effects on a generation of students impacted by forceful government response to the virus on a global scale. For those who have been able to return to the classroom, the relief for many students and parents has been palpable.

In the aftermath, it is time to take a look at what we have done. Studies are being conducted to examine the impact on children who were not allowed to attend school in person.

Do we need new data to suggest that shutting down schools would have a negative impact on our students?  Was it really unexpected?

As Charles C.W. Cooke points out, there were many who expected that shutting down schools would be damaging. Pretending otherwise is a slap in the face to those who repeatedly voiced concerns and fought to re-open schools. No one expected any of this?

Perhaps no one in the impenetrable echo chamber of COVID paranoia considered the cost of such drastic measures.

Clearly, some of the objections were heard though, a whole lot of people excluded from the ‘almost anyone’ set can recall that there was an active effort to dismiss and invalidate anyone who spoke out against shutting down schools for an extended period of time.

As the battle continues over who knew this was a bad idea, and who insisted we put our children through it – the important part is that everyone seems to know now.

Now that the damaging effects of shutting down schools have been quantified, can we make the united decision not to do it again?

Emotions run high, but the numbers don’t lie. As COVID case counts flare up and whispers of new mandates and shutdowns are teased, remember that almost everyone is suddenly interested in the damage caused by dramatic policy decisions that ignored the concerns of many.