Back to School: The Effects of School re-opening on Families’ Health, Emotional Well-being, Government Support, and Economic Situation

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Abstract

On April 15, the gradual re-opening of Danish society began. In this report, we present results from the first wave of a survey collected for parents with children in the 4th to the 7th grade in the week that schools re-opened for children up until the 5th grade (N = 1,303). Some of these parents experienced that all of their children began school again, that none of their children began school again, or that some of their children began school again, but not others. Our findings based on between-family analysis indicate that:
1. Overall, there are very minor differences in health outcomes, well-being, political support, and economic wellbeing between parents who had children in the 4th or 5th and those with children in the 6th or 7th grades. We find no evidence for important short-term positive or negative differences associated with the stepwise re-opening of Danish schools.
2. We find that, on average, parents (independent of the grades in which they have children) report low to moderate levels of stress (around 0.2 on a scale from 0 to 1), express overwhelming support for how the PM and health authorities perform (0.78 to 0.82 on scales from 0 to 1), report no major economic gains or losses during this period (around 0.5 on a scale from 0 to 1), have been able to carry out work at reasonably high rates (around 81%
rate), and are fairly unconcerned about COVID-19 related implications for their jobs (0.84 on a scale from 0 to 1).
3. However, on average, there are small, but significant differences between fathers and mothers where mothers experience more stress and report stronger support for the PM and the Health Authorities, although we cannot necessarily attribute these differences to the school lockdowns or re-openings. We find no systematic evidence that these gender differences are more or less pronounced conditional on the children’s grade and return to school.
4. Finally, children are perceived to be doing well (0.75 to 0.8 on scales from 0 to 1) and there are no systematic differences between those who could return to school and those who could not.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School, CBS
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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