I have said this many times, but it bears repeating: the shutdown policies that have devastated the lives of our children and young people were not just a blunder, but a crime. Jan Crawford of CBS put it well this morning on Face the Nation:
“They will be paying for our generation’s decisions the rest of their lives”: @JanCBS explains why she thinks 2021's biggest underreported story was the devastating impact of COVID policies on children pic.twitter.com/AUU1f6AFNi
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) December 26, 2021
Heck, the point is so obvious that even the New York Times might be catching on:
High schoolers across the U.S. have reported some of the most alarming mental health declines, evidenced by depression and suicide attempts. Adolescents have failed classes critical to their futures at higher rates than in previous years. https://t.co/qAHy2ab728
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 25, 2021
In my opinion, the various governments’ responses to the covid epidemic represented the worst failure of public policy in the U.S. since (at least) the Vietnam War. And a number of other countries did even worse.
PAUL ADDS: There’s no doubt that the pandemic and aspects of the response to it have been harmful to children. However, some of the commentary about this subject underestimates the resilience of the vast majority of young Americans.
Take one of the concerns cited in that New York Times tweet. Ten years from now, how much of a setback will it be that someone failed a class in 2020? Not much of one in most cases, I dare say. And in cases where failing a class turns out to be a major long-term setback, the student was probably destined to be derailed further down the line.
Drug addiction and depression are obviously more serious matters. But I wonder whether most kids who turn to drugs or become seriously depressed because they are cooped up during a pandemic are likely to turn to drugs or become depressed due to some other frustration or setback as they face the inevitable stresses of being teenagers and becoming adults.
We won’t be able to quantify even roughly the medium and long-term effects of the pandemic and the pandemic response on kids who lived through it until a good deal more time has passed.
I agree, however, that there will be some level of negative medium and long-term effects. And who can disagree that there have been short-term negative impacts? I’m certainly glad my kids weren’t in school in 2020 and 2021.