Cost–Benefit Analysis of Face-to-Face Closure of Schools to Control COVID-19 in the Philippines
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This brief models the effectiveness of closing face-to-face schooling to help contain COVID-19 in the Philippines. It finds much higher health and economic costs than benefits from untargeted closures, and recommends alternatives.
A crucial choice facing many governments is whether to use school face-to-face closures for an extended period to help contain COVID-19. The analysis in this brief uses an age-structured epidemiological model applied to the case of the Philippines to underpin cost-benefit analysis. It finds that the overall health and economic costs of national face-to-face school closure are about 70 times higher than the COVID-19 control benefits, assuming that other control efforts continue.
People’s education strongly influences their health behavior throughout their lives. The analysis shows that long-term mortality increases due to less effective education from face-to-face closure are many times higher than the number of lives saved from COVID-19 in the short run.
There is ample scope to use targeted measures to minimize the COVID-19 risks of resuming face-to-face classes while benefiting people’s overall health.