Unintended economic and social consequences of school closures related to hurricane isaac in harrison county school district, Mississippi, 2012
Methods We distributed paper surveys to the 7,980 households with 14,368 students enrolled in HCSD (includes 20 K-12 schools). The survey collected data on childcare options, parental employment disruptions, and interruption of school-provided services during school closure. Only one survey was requested from caregivers in households with ≥ 1 child in the impacted schools. We also conducted semi-structured interviews with ≥ 1 official at each school regarding the impact of the closure on school administration.
Results Of the distributed household surveys, 2,224 (28%) were completed and returned accounting for 4,003 students. Among responding households, 1,427 (64%) were white, and 710 (31%) reported a household income <$5,000. In 1,327 (60%) households at least one adult reported missing work to provide childcare, and in 1,001 (45%) at least one adult missed work and lost pay due to the unplanned closure. Officials from the 20 schools indicated that the major concern was the challenge with making-up missed school days, including costs associated with hiring substitute teachers for these make-up days.
Conclusion School closures implemented to prepare for or respond to emergencies involve costs for families and schools. Provision of childcare may be a challenge for many families. Anticipated costs associated with school closures should be considered in emergency preparedness.
Learning Areas:Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Identify and describe the costs and consequences on students and their families following the school closures implemented by the Harrison County School District, Mississippi, in preparation for the hurricane Isaac, September 2012.
Keyword(s): Emergency, Community Research
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a medical epidemiologist with scientific interest in school closures as a community mitigation measure during influenza pandemic and other public health emergencies. I've been supervising investigations conducted in the US on unintended consequences of school closures on students, families and school administrations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.