As American school officials debate when it will be safe for schoolchildren to return to classrooms, looking abroad may offer insights. Nearly every country in the world shuttered their schools early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have since sent students back to class, with varying degrees of success.
I am a scholar of comparative international education. For this article, I examined what happened in four countries where K-12 schools either stayed open throughout the pandemic or have resumed in-person instruction, using press reports, national COVID-19 data and academic studies.
Here’s what I found.
Israel: Too much, too soon
Israel took stringent steps early on in the coronavirus pandemic, including severely restricting everyone’s movement and closing all schools. By June, it was being lauded internationally for containing the spread of COVID-19.
But shortly after schools reopened in May, on a staggered schedule paired with mask mandates and social distancing