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Scott Atlas: ‘Lockdowns do not get rid of the virus’

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A senior fellow from the Hoover Institute, a conservative think tank, on Monday criticized lockdowns as a means of combatting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In an interview on the Fox News program “The Next Revolution” with Steve Hilton, Scott Atlas called into question the effectiveness of lockdowns as a policy.

“We are entering now a phase of a continuous cycle of lockdowns with no end in sight,” Atlas said. “And we see all over Europe, all over the states in the U.S., lockdowns do not get rid of the virus.”

Atlas served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, where he was criticized heavily for controversially doubting the effectiveness of wearing face masks and practicing social distancing, among other things. Additionally, he served as Special Advisor to President Donald Trump until resigning on November 30, having began the job in August.

“The virus is there, you can slow things down by delaying things, as, unfortunately, was done and part of the reason we’re seeing so many cases is because of the lockdowns delaying things into winter months, colder weather,” he claimed, “where we see that you cannot socially distance from your elderly family members.”

Atlas, however, did not specify which delayed things he was referring to.

“So, I think that public health officials need to do something very essential which has been missing,” Atlas added. “They have to consider the impact of the virus and they have to consider the impact of the policy itself.”

Coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket across the country, pushing the total number of deaths in the U.S. past 282,000 and the number of cases nearing 15 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. This has led many state and local leaders to strengthen their COVID-19 restrictions in the lead-up to the holiday travel season, after loosening the restrictions in many places throughout the summer.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Remote Learning Lowered Test Scores in Every State; Minority Students Hit the Worst

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Remote Learning

A paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows remote learning has had a negative impact on students’ test scores in every state. Not only were students across the country affected, minority students were impacted the most.

According to the publication, remote learning led to declines in test scores for English and math, when compared to scores of students who went to schools with more in-person learning. “Our research shows that test score losses are significantly larger in districts with less in-person learning,” said Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University.

“This suggests, yes, that virtual learning was – and is – less effective than in-person learning, at least as measured by school-based testing” added Oster. “Passing rates in math declined by 14.2 percentage points on average; we estimate this decline was 10.1 percentage points smaller for districts fully in-person,” the study found.

The research combined “district-level schooling mode data from the 2020-21 school year,” “district-level test score data from 2015 to 2021” and “demographic data from the NCES,” according to the study.

Data was collected from students in third to eighth grades in 12 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Score declines showed variations by state, as well. Virginia “which had the most complete virtual learning time, along with Colorado, saw an almost 32% drop on math test scores in the 2020-21 school year when compared to the 2018-19 school year” reports Tampa Free Press.

Wyoming, however, “which had the most in-person learning, along with Florida, saw just a 2.3% drop in English, the study found.”

“Changes in English Language Arts (ELA) were smaller than math scores overall, but drops in scores were greater in districts with larger black and Hispanic populations and students eligible for free and reduced lunch prices” reports Tampa Free Press.

“Districts that have a larger share of black and Hispanic students and less in-person schooling also saw a greater decline in ELA test scores than those with more in-person schooling. “

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