Editors at National Review Online ponder the lingering impact of COVID-related school closings.

No one should need the New York Times to tell them what they already know about the disastrous outcomes that pandemic-era school closures imposed on America’s schoolchildren. But for those who remain beholden to the shibboleths that once justified that act of national self-harm, the Times’ acknowledgment of the obvious might be valuable.

In a Monday report, the paper of record conceded that “remote learning was a key driver of academic declines during the pandemic.” Its reporters seemed self-conscious about the conclusions to which the “research” now points them. They note that there were “no easy decisions at the time,” and officials had to “weigh the risks of an emerging virus against academic and mental health.” But the decision to close schools to in-person education was still the wrong choice, regardless of the anguish experienced by those who settled on that policy. And it’s a choice that became much more obviously wrong the further we got from the initial outbreak in the spring of 2020.

The Times cites studies that conclusively demonstrate that students who experienced prolonged school closures or suffered through hybridized learning “fell more than half a grade behind in math on average.” The effects on student performance grow worse in direct correlation with the amount of time students spent outside the classroom. That effect is even more pronounced in poorer school districts, which had access to fewer resources to cope with their new reality and were likely to remain closed longer than their counterparts in wealthier areas of the country.

These revelations come as no surprise to almost anyone who personally struggled with the remote-learning regime to which children were consigned in 2020–21. Within weeks of that experiment, parents recognized the catastrophic circumstances that had been imposed on their families. They told anyone willing to listen — from pollsters to politicians — that this new status quo was unsustainable.