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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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1 - 15 of 252
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.

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.

The impact of COVID-19 related educational disruption on children and adolescents: An interim data summary and commentary on ten considerations for neuropsychological practice

Mary K. (Molly) Colvin; Jennifer Reesman; Tannahill Glen (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: The Clinical Neuropsychologist

The coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in educational disruption of historic breadth and duration. The authors describe early studies and interim standardized assessment reports to highlight effects of educational disruption and present critical questions for neuropsychologists. A summary of pre-pandemic and interim literature was compiled, including analyses of national and local assessment data and preliminary studies on academic gains related to remote learning, educational and school services disruption, chronic absenteeism, and child and adolescent mental and physical health during 2020–2021. Ten major themes were identified in the early reports on impacts of educational disruption.

Language use of Russian Roma children in their home environments during the COVID 19 pandemic

Hristo Kyuchukov

Published: September 2021   Journal: Intercultural Education
The paper presents results from a fieldwork study with Russian Roma children. Two groups of children, 6–8 years and 8–10 years old, were involved in the study. Before the pandemic crisis began in Russia, a large number of Roma children were kept home by the parents. The study was conducted in a Roma settlement of a small town not so far from Moscow, and the author was living with the Roma family for a week. Using an ethnographic approach, he observed the communication between children and adults, children and siblings, children and neighbours. The ROMLAT test was used to measure the knowledge of Roma children regarding different grammatical categories from their mother tongue. The Roma oral tradition served among the community as a factor stimulating the language development of the children and maintaining their Romani.
Constructions of quality: Australian Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services during COVID-19

Melissa Barnes; Gloria Quiñones; Emily Berger

Published: September 2021   Journal: Teachers and Teaching
There is increasing pressure on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings to align their practices and values to that of schools, with the notion that a quality education in ECEC consists of providing care whilst also ensuring strong learning outcomes. This paper employs the constructs of structural and process quality to theorise the perceived disparities between ECEC institutions and schools and between ECEC services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The experiences of 29 Australian ECEC educators provide insight into the differing constructions of quality across ECEC services during the COVID-19 lockdown periods that occurred from May to August 2020 in the state of Victoria.
Evidence on resilient initial response to COVID-19 pandemic among youth: findings from the prospective study of mental health in two European countries

Inga Truskauskaite-Kuneviciene; Julia Brailovskaia; Jürgen Margraf (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Emerging Adulthood
The current two-wave longitudinal study aimed to investigate changes in stress, anxiety, depression, and positive mental health (PMH) during the first COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the sample of emerging adults. Data were collected before the COVID-19 and within the first month of the outbreak. The study sample consisted of 775 university students from Lithuania (n = 450, M age(SD age) = 19.45 (0.93), 79.3% female) and Germany (n = 325, M age(SD age) = 23.08 (2.94), 78.2% female). The results of multivariate Latent Change Analysis revealed that Lithuanian and German emerging adults demonstrated a decrease in stress and anxiety at the COVID-19 outbreak. Lithuanians also showed a decrease in depressive symptoms and an increase in PMH. Three groups with different change patterns were identified: resilient (82%) demonstrating positive changes, high-symptom (8%) with stable high rates of stress and depression and stable low rates of PMH, and vulnerable (10%) with an increase in depressive symptoms as well as a decrease in PMH over time.
Education system of Nepal: impacts and future perspectives of COVID-19 pandemic

Khadka Bahadur Pal; Buddha Bahadur Basnet; Ramesh Raj Pant (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Heliyon
The academic sectors are badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic globally. The studies regarding the implications of COVID-19 in education in Nepal were minimal, thus, this paper aims to highlight the impacts of the pandemic on the education sector of Nepal. It is revealed that the Nepalese academia has been facing problems due to lack of adequate and appropriate sustainable infrastructure for the online system, including skilled human resources. In addition, limited internet facilities in remote and rural areas were the other challenging tasks for virtual academic activities. Therefore, the concerned stakeholders should provide necessary services and appropriate strategies for virtual means of the education system to compensate the repercussion caused by the pandemic. This study could be helpful to identify the critical needs emerged due to the pandemic at present and in future and also contribute to adopt appropriate policy for the revival of educational institutions.
Education response to COVID 19 pandemic, a special issue proposed by UNICEF: editorial review

Nicolas Reuge; Robert Jenkins; Matt Brossard (et al.)

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: September 2021   Journal: International Journal of Educational Development
This editorial paper presents 11 papers related to the special issue proposed by UNICEF on the Education Response to COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic provoked an education emergency of unprecedented scale. At its onset in February 2020, school closures were announced in the worst-hit countries. At the peak of the crisis, 90 per cent of learners worldwide had had their education disrupted. Some learners, especially those from the most marginalised population groups, were put at risk of permanent dropout, provoking long-term and significant negative effects on children’s life-long wellbeing and the socio-economic development of their communities and countries. This special issue, which received contributions from UNICEF staff and various researchers, focuses on the impact of school closures, the effectiveness of remote learning solutions, equity implications, the mitigation of learning loss and notions around re-opening better.
The impact of Covid-19 on children's active travel to school in Vietnam

Minh Hieu Nguyen; Dorina Pojani; Thanh Chuong Nguyen (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: Journal of Transport Geography
This is among the first studies to provide empirical evidence on active school travel rates and determinants before and after the first Covid-19 lockdown in spring 2020. This study has collected and analyzed primary survey data on the school travel patterns of 472 school-age children in Hanoi, Vietnam. The findings show that the Covid-19 pandemic has been quite detrimental: once schools reopened, the prevalence of active school travel decreased from 53% to less than 31%. Where parents, especially mothers, did not face barriers to motorized travel, they assumed the role of chauffeur. Parents who were more concerned about community infections were more motivated to shift children to motorized modes. Walking was more affected than cycling because it was seen as more likely to lead to physical contact and virus transmission. Active school travel dropped more steeply in urban districts (as opposed to poorer, non-urban districts) and in those areas where home-school distances were the largest. It appears that the most common perceptions around barriers to active school travel have been exacerbated during the pandemic as parents and children adapt to “the new normal”.
Measuring and forecasting progress in education: what about early childhood?

Linda M. Richter; Jere R. Behrman; Pia Britto (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: npj Science of Learning
A recent Nature article modelled within-country inequalities in primary, secondary, and tertiary education and forecast progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets related to education (SDG 4). However, their paper entirely overlooks inequalities in achieving Target 4.2, which aims to achieve universal access to quality early childhood development, care and preschool education by 2030. This is an important omission because of the substantial brain, cognitive and socioemotional developments that occur in early life and because of increasing evidence of early-life learning’s large impacts on subsequent education and lifetime wellbeing. This study provides an overview of this evidence and uses new analyses to illustrate medium- and long-term implications of early learning, first by presenting associations between pre-primary programme participation and adolescent mathematics and science test scores in 73 countries and secondly, by estimating the costs of inaction (not making pre-primary programmes universal) in terms of forgone lifetime earnings in 134 countries. This study finds considerable losses, comparable to or greater than current governmental expenditures on all education (as percentages of GDP), particularly in low- and lower-middle-income countries. In addition to improving primary, secondary and tertiary schooling, it concludes that to attain SDG 4 and reduce inequalities in a post-COVID era, it is essential to prioritize quality early childhood care and education, including adopting policies that support families to promote early learning and their children’s education.
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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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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.