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Covid-19-related school closures: impact on students in their final high school years

Students in their final high school years are faced with long lasting career decisions under high uncertainty and they are pressured to perform well in their high-stake exams. The government regulations following the Covid-19 pandemic such as school closures, timing of final exams, and contact restrictions may therefore particularly hit these students in this crucial career stage. We present the effects of government regulations in Germany on students in their final high school years. We are interested in several outcomes, such as students’ career planning, learning behaviour, mental health, and life satisfaction. These were measured in a baseline survey of students in 217 schools in autumn 2019 and again in a follow-up online survey in 2020. We identify the effect of school closures on the outcome measures by exploiting that the first part of the students were surveyed in February 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic has only slightly emerged and schools not been closed in Germany, whereas the second part of students answered the online questionnaire after the school closures in March and April 2020. This sampling provides us with the possibility to apply difference-indifferences strategies to identify the effect of the school closures isolated from the overall Covid-19 effect. Additionally, we want to identify the effect of administering and communicating the timing of the final exams’ effects of re-opening strategies and the lowering of contact restrictions by differences between the German states, counties and schools.

Lead investigator:

Malte Sandner


Institute for Employment research, IAB

Primary topic:

Schools, universities & training

Region of data collection:


Country of data collection


Status of data collection

In Progress

Type of data being collected:

Online survey

Unit of real-time data collection


Start date




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