Emily Rauscher, Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at Brown University
This study quantifies the relationship between school closure timing and COVID-19 deaths and cases in the general population in all U.S. states. COVID-19 has higher symptomatic infection rates among the elderly, suggesting school closures could be unrelated to transmission. However, predicting daily cumulative COVID-19 deaths by state, earlier school closure is related to fewer deaths per capita and slower growth in deaths per capita. Results are consistent when predicting COVID-19 cases per capita or number of cases or deaths in each state. Estimates within matched pairs of nearby counties in different states and with different school closure dates suggest earlier school closure reduces COVID-19 deaths and cases.