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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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UNICEF Innocenti Publication
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1 - 15 of 260
COVID-19 school closures and cumulative disadvantage: assessing the learning gap in formal, informal and non-formal education

Sheila González; Xavier Bonal

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Journal of Education
Reducing physical contact has been the most common strategy adopted by governments to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 disease. It has led most countries to close their schools. Previous evidence on the effects of teacher strikes, summer holidays, armed conflicts or any other cause of school closure on learning suggest that the effects of COVID-19 will be highly significant for some and will vary depending on students' previous performance, family characteristics, age or education track, among other factors. Recent evidence shows that learning losses during school closures have been widespread and especially intense among the more disadvantaged students. In this article we evaluate the magnitude of the gap regarding opportunities to learn in formal, informal and non-formal education between families depending on their cultural and economic capital. An online survey (n = 35,937) was carried out during the second week of the confinement (March 2020) in Catalonia. The survey targeted families with children between three and eighteen years. The responses show remarkable social inequalities in opportunities to learn. In this article, we describe the magnitude of the learning gap between social groups and explore which are the most significant factors that explain educational inequalities.
Primary school mathematics during the COVID-19 pandemic: no evidence of learning gaps in adaptive practicing results

Martijn Meeter

Published: October 2021   Journal: Trends in Neuroscience and Education

The COVID-19 pandemic induced many governments to close schools for months. Evidence so far suggests that learning has suffered as a result. Here, it is investigated whether forms of computer-assisted learning mitigated the decrements in learning observed during the lockdown. Performance of 53,656 primary school students who used adaptive practicing software for mathematics was compared to performance of similar students in the preceding year.

Uneven global education stimulus risks widening learning disparities
Institution: UNESCO
Published: October 2021
Due  to  the  COVID-19  Pandemic,  governments  around  the world  risk  losing  years  of  progress  towards  the  Sustainable Development Goal on education (SDG4) in the 2030 Education Agenda if they do not invest sufficiently in education systems during the crisis response and recovery. Education is not only a human right, but also a strategy for ongoing economic revival and  sustainable  development.  Efforts  to  sustain  or  increase economic investment in education should be smart, strong, and leave no one behind, providing targeted stimulus to vulnerable populations at higher risk of dropping out. UNESCO believes that  the  post-pandemic  economic  recovery  is  dependent  on short- and long-term investment in flexible, resilient education systems that can respond quickly and efficiently.
COVID-19 and educational inequality: How school closures affect low- and high-achieving students

Elisabeth Grewenig; Philipp Lergetporer; Katharina Werner (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: European Economic Review
In spring 2020, governments around the globe shut down schools to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. This study argues that low-achieving students may be particularly affected by the lack of educator support during school closures. It collects detailed time-use information on students before and during the school closures in a survey of 1099 parents in Germany.
"Public health and social measures' considerations for educational authorities: schooling in the time of COVID-19: Considerations for health and educational authorities on the public health and social measures to reopen schools as safely as possible"

Kalpana Vincent; Viviane Bianco; Sarah Fuller (et al.)

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

The return to face-to-face learning helps children return to a sense of normality, although different normality as prevention and control measures have likely altered school and classroom routines. It is important that schools should have a risk-mitigation strategy in place. Countries should ensure these strategies carefully balance the likely benefits for, and harms to, younger and older age groups of children when making decisions about implementing infection prevention and control measures. Any measure needs to be balanced with the even worse alternative of schools being closed and Any measure introduced by schools should follow standard protocols for implementation. This publication shares more detailed considerations for health and educational authorities on the public health and social measures to reopen schools as safely as possible.

Schooling in the time of COVID-19, a resource pack produced by UNICEF ECARO and WHO Europe
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

Schools are essential for children’s learning, health, safety and well-being. But students’ learning suffered a major setback when most educational institutions reduced or cancelled in-person instruction and moved to remote learning and teaching to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Prolonged school closures continue to jeopardise the future of millions of children across the globe. The Europe and Central Asia Region is no exception. Schools should be the first to open and last to close. Getting children back in the classroom remains a priority for UNICEF and WHO Regional Offices, striking a balance between applying public health and social measures and ensuring that children are able to continue learning and socializing to the greatest extent possible. UNICEF and WHO have created several tools and resources to support countries in their back-to-school efforts. This joint UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (UNICEF/ ECARO) and WHO Regional Office for Europe Schooling Resource Pack has an easy-to-find compilation of materials to help parents/caregivers, teachers and students return to school safely.

Learning disruption or learning loss: using evidence from unplanned closures to inform returning to school after COVID-19

Sinéad Harmey; Gemma Moss

Published: September 2021   Journal: Educational Review
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the immediate and longer-term effects of school closures and ongoing interruptions on children’s learning have been a source of considerable apprehension to many. In an attempt to anticipate and mitigate the effect of school closures, researchers and policymakers have turned to the learning loss literature, research that estimates the effect of summer holidays on academic achievement. However, school closures due to COVID-19 have taken place under very different conditions, making the utility of such a literature debatable. Instead, this study is based on a rapid evidence assessment of research on learning disruption – extended and unplanned periods of school closure following unprecedented events, such as SARs or weather-related events.
Justice-centered education amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Michelle E. Forsythe; Yun-Wen Chan

Published: September 2021   Journal: The Journal of Environmental Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new saliency to educational efforts to ensure every person is able to make effective personal decisions and participate in civic affairs. However, social and political systems often constrain individual opportunities to enact personal decision-making. These sociopolitical contexts necessitate an increased emphasis on justice-centered education that equips students to recognize and respond to inequities in local and global contexts. This article presents three case studies of areas relevant to K-12 education to which the pandemic has drawn critical attention: how scientific knowledge changes, how decisions are made about science-based issues, and how the impacts of such decisions cascade in the environment. Collectively, these cases highlight the importance of justice-centered pedagogies for learning about complex socioscientific issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and how transboundary justice-centered education could support the meaningful convergence of environmental education, science education, and social studies education.
Mothers’ preferences for their children’s format for return to school during the Coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic: are there differences between full-time employed mothers and mothers who are not employed?

Christine A. Limbers; Christina L. Pavlov

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Family Issues
The present study assessed factors associated with maternal preferences for their children’s educational format (i.e., completely in-person, completely online/remote, or hybrid of in-person and online/remote) for return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether these associations differed between full-time employed mothers and mothers who were not employed. Participants were 911 mothers of school-aged children from the United States (full-time employed, n = 650; not employed, n = 261). Recruitment took place online via social media during Summer 2020. Questionnaires on school modality preference, maternal work status, and demographic characteristics were filled out online through Qualtrics.
Parental involvement in remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic—Dominant approaches and their diverse implications

Tomasz Knopik; Anna Błaszczak; Renata Maksymiuk (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: European Journal of Education
The aim of the study on which this article reports was to identify parents' approaches to their children's remote education during the COVID-19 pandemic in April and May 2020. Additionally, this investigation sought to determine the role of parent perceptions of the barriers and benefits of remote education. The research draws on a survey of 421 parents of primary school students, in which a 66-item questionnaire (4 subscales) was used. Analysis revealed three main clusters that represent approaches adopted by parents: (1) the committed teacher approach, (2) the autonomy-supporting coach, and (3) the committed teacher and intervener. The parents in cluster 3 emphasised perceived barriers to remote learning more than parents in clusters 1 and 2. Regarding perceptions of the benefits, statistically significant differences were found in perceptions of child development facilitated by remote education (the parents in cluster 2 rated it most positively). The results can be used to support parents and schools in the provision of optimal remote learning.
Effects of COVID-19-related school closures on student achievement: a systematic review

Svenja Hammerstein; Christoph König; Thomas Dreisörner (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
The COVID-19 pandemic led to numerous governments deciding to close schools for several weeks in spring 2020. Empirical evidence on the impact of COVID-19-related school closures on academic achievement is only just emerging. The present work aimed to provide a first systematic overview of evidence-based studies on general and differential effects of COVID-19-related school closures in spring 2020 on student achievement in primary and secondary education. Results indicate a negative effect of school closures on student achievement, specifically in younger students and students from families with low socioeconomic status. Moreover, certain measures can be identified that might mitigate these negative effects. The findings are discussed in the context of their possible consequences for national educational policies when facing future school closures.
Goal content and attitudes toward physical activity among primary school students during COVID-19 conditional movement control order

Siong Chin Ngien; John Jeswenny Fresshila

Published: September 2021   Journal: Asian Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
This study examined primary school students’ goal content and attitudes toward physical activity during COVID-19 Conditional Movement Control Order . The participants were 312 students comprising 149 males and 163 females aged 11 and 12 years old from 3 primary schools in Sarawak, Malaysia. Participants were administered the Malay version of the Goal Content for Exercise Questionnaire Malay version (GCEQ; Chai et al., 2019) and Malay version of the Attitudes toward Physical Activity Scale (M-APAS; Jeswenny, 2019).
Association of elementary school reopening status and county COVID-19 incidence

Kenneth Michelson; Margaret E. Samuels-Kalow

Published: September 2021   Journal: Academic Pediatrics

This study aims to examine the association between elementary school opening status (ESOS) and changes in pediatric COVID-19 incidence. It conducted a cross-sectional study of US counties with school districts with ≥500 elementary school students. The main exposure was ESOS in September, 2020. The outcome was county incidence of COVID-19. Age-stratified negative binomial regression models were constructed using county adult COVID-19 incidence.

Why lockdown and distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to increase the social class achievement gap

Sébastien Goudeau; Camille Sanrey; Arnaud Stanczak (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Nature Human Behaviour
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced teachers and parents to quickly adapt to a new educational context: distance learning. Teachers developed online academic material while parents taught the exercises and lessons provided by teachers to their children at home. Considering that the use of digital tools in education has dramatically increased during this crisis, and it is set to continue, there is a pressing need to understand the impact of distance learning. Taking a multidisciplinary view, this study argues that by making the learning process rely more than ever on families, rather than on teachers, and by getting students to work predominantly via digital resources, school closures exacerbate social class academic disparities. To address this burning issue, this study proposes an agenda for future research and outline recommendations to help parents, teachers and policymakers to limit the impact of the lockdown on social-class-based academic inequality.
Learning in the shadow of a conflict: barriers to education in Syria

Jiwan Said

Institution: Save the Children
Published: September 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the bleak situation of education in Syria. Recurrent lockdowns and suspension of activities over 2020 and 2021 have limited children’s physical access to school and has worsened the poor economic situation across the country obliging many Syrian families to apply coping mechanisms including removing their children from schools. All of the above has resulted in an estimated 2.5 million children aged 5-17 years – one-third of the school-age population – are out of school. They are unable to exercise their basic right to education as laid out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). A further 1.6 million school-age children are at risk of being denied this right. These astonishing numbers indicate that a generation is growing up deprived of school in Syria. Those children are also more likely to suffer further violations, including falling victim to violence, child marriage, and engagement in worst form of child labour.

1 - 15 of 260

UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.