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From crisis to opportunity: parents and schools can come together to prioritise student health and well-being
  1. Christopher Bonell1,
  2. Neisha Sundaram1,
  3. Russell M Viner2
  1. 1 Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  2. 2 Population, Policy and Practice Department, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher Bonell, Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1H 9SH, UK; chris.bonell{at}

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Parents value and trust schools

School closures have vividly demonstrated the multiple ways in which schools benefit students and parents. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the greatest disruption to education in recent history, affecting 1.6 billion students in 190 countries. Schools have been continuously closed for nearly a year for around one-tenth of these students. In countries such as the UK where school closures have not been so extended, parents supported school closures but reported that loss of education for their children was a major concern.1 Parents strongly supported the return to school in spring 2021 citing concerns about their children’s loss of learning and well-being while not in school.2 In US research, parents commented on their concerns for students’ social and emotional development while not in school.3 Research in other settings has found that school closures directly impacted parental stress and well-being.4 In our own qualitative research conducted as part of a national study of COVID-19 transmission and prevention in English primary and secondary schools, parents report an enhanced appreciation of the key role schools play in their children’s health and social development, as well as in supporting their own well-being. Parents also reported that their children had …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.