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Does Re-Opening Schools Contribute to the Spread of Sars-Cov-2? Evidence From Staggered Summer Breaks in Germany

Ingo Isphording (), Marc Lipfert and Nico Pestel ()

CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series from University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany

Abstract: This paper studies the effect of the end of school summer breaks on SARS-CoV-2 cases in Germany. The staggered timing of summer breaks across federal states allows us to implement an event study design. We base our analysis on official daily counts of confirmed coronavirus infections by age groups across all 401 German counties. We consider an event window of two weeks before and four weeks after the end of summer breaks. We do not find evidence of a positive effect of school re-openings on case numbers. For individuals aged between 5-59 years, which comprise school-aged children and their parents, our preferred specification indicates that the end of summer breaks had a negative but insignificant effect on the number of new confirmed cases. Our results are not explained by changes in mobility patterns around school re-openings arising from travel returnees. Analyses of Google Trends data suggest that behavioral changes of parents may have contributed to contain larger outbreaks after school re-openings. We conclude that school re-openings in Germany under strict hygiene measures combined with quarantine and containment measures have not increased the number of newly confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Keywords: COVID-19; schooling; education; Germany (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I18 I28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 29
Date: 2021-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-ure
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