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The United Nations agency responsible for aiding children is warning that the costs of coronavirus-related school closures outweigh the benefits, and is pointing to data showing no consistent links between school reopenings and infection rates.

Meanwhile, the agency reports that the pandemic poses substantial threats to children and their countries’ long-term well-being.

“Evidence shows that the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them,” reads a new UNICEF report titled “Averting a Lost Generation.”

“Data from 191 countries show no consistent association between school reopening status and COVID-19 infection rates,” it adds.

Released on Thursday, the report casts doubt on government leaders’ rationale for closing schools amid a surge in cases, and highlights the pandemic’s economic and health consequences for children.

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