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House Oversight Committee Holds COVID-19 Hearing

House Oversight Committee Holds COVID-19 Hearing "The Consequences of School Closures Intended and Unintended"

On Tuesday, March 28, 2023, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held a hearing, “The Consequences of School Closures: Intended and Unintended.” The hearing explored the impact of pandemic-related school closings on student and community health and academic outcomes. Four witnesses provided testimony: Mr. David Zweig, Author and Investigative Journalist at the Atlantic, Ms. Tracy Hoeg, M.D. Ph.D, Epidemiologist, Ms. Virginia Gentles, Director, Education Freedom Center, and Ms. Donna Mazyck, R.N., Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses.

All witnesses and subcommittee members agreed that closures resulted in detrimental impacts that included student learning loss, increased mental illness, and a widening of the achievement gap. Debate among subcommittee members regarding how the pandemic was handled ensued with views expressed about the low impact the virus has on children, the lack of following European examples, and the role of unions in keeping schools closed longer than necessary. The hearing also highlighted the outsized costs of keeping children out of school, especially those from high-poverty communities and those with disabilities.

Further exploration will continue in hopes of providing support for pandemic-related learning loss and preparation for future pandemic-like disasters.

Access a recording of the hearing here.

Posted:  31 March, 2023

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