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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Fostering “parental participation in schooling”: primary school teachers’ insights from the COVID-19 school closures

Sara Spear; John Parkin; Tommy van Steen (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Educational Review
The COVID-19 school closures presented an unprecedented challenge to primary education on a global scale, with teachers, parents, and children having to rapidly adjust to a remote learning environment, and with concerns that this would exacerbate educational inequalities. Parental engagement has been widely acknowledged to have a positive impact on children’s academic achievement, and previous studies have found that efforts by schools to foster parental engagement can help close the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils. This study therefore sought to explore how teachers perceived parental engagement during the school closures, and how they fostered this in a remote learning environment. This research involved an exploratory mixed methods study with primary educators in England, with an online survey (n = 271) and semi-structured interviews (n = 24) in June and July 2020, after the first school closures in England, and then again after the second closures in April 2021 (n = 14).
New realities for Polish primary school informatics education affected by COVID-19

Taras Panskyi; Ewa Korzeniewska; Małgorzata Serwach (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Education and Information Technologies
In the paper, the authors discuss the first research effort to explore the transition from traditional teaching into distance teaching in Polish primary schools enforced by COVID-19. The first research question was addressed to primary school students and was dedicated to furnishing them with ICT equipment for crisis-prompted distance informatics learning. According to the obtained results, almost all Polish students during the pandemic have a technical opportunity to participate in distance learning and to use digital devices to develop their digital competences. Hence the second research question was addressed to the experts, demystifies whether the accessibility and the availability of ICTs could increase students’ informatics learning outcomes in out-of-school primary education settings.
Dynamic masking: a proposal of burden-based metrics for masking in K-12 schools during the COVID-19 pandemic

Leah C. Rowland; Martin D. Klinkhammer; Dana W .E. Ramirez

Published: November 2021   Journal: Journal of School Health

Ongoing masking of K-12 children has not been universally accepted despite recommendation from public health authorities. In states without universal mask mandates for schools, district administrators are forced to make masking decisions under significant local political pressures. There is a call for endpoints to masking to allow communities to tailor mitigation while keeping schools safe, focusing on harm reduction. This study reviewed existing measures for the safe opening of schools and designed a stepwise, accessible approach to the removal of masks in the K-12 setting.

Micro classes as a primary school–level mathematics education response to COVID-19 pandemic in China: students’ degree of approval and perception of digital equity

Zhiyong Xie; Leifeng Xiao; Meiteng Hou (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Educational Studies in Mathematics
The article introduces a mathematics education measure in response to the COVID-19 epidemic in China and explores students’ degree of approval and perception of digital equity towards the response. After the outbreak of the COVID-19, the Chinese New Century Primary School Mathematics Textbook (NCPM) committee had developed a series of micro classes (abbreviated as NCPM micro classes), and more than 25 million teachers and students in China watched the NCPM micro classes during the 3 months social isolation. Then, students’ degree of approval towards the NCPM micro classes and perception of digital equity were examined after social isolation. A total of 132,740 pieces of data were collected from Chinese primary school students.
Prevalence and associated factors of anxiety among 538,500 Chinese students during the outbreak of COVID-19: A web-based cross-sectional study

Juan Wang; Zhenxing Mao; Dandan Wei (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: Psychiatry Research
This study was conducted on elementary school students in Henan Province, China, from February 4th to 11th, 2020, during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic. The purpose of the study was to examine the prevalence of anxiety among students and identify the related risk factors contributing to anxiety. Demographic information and psychological status were assessed by using self-reported measures. The generalized anxiety disorder tool (GAD-7) and a multiple logistic regression model were used to assess anxiety and identify potential influencing factors. Cross-sectional data indicated that the overall anxiety prevalence was 13.4%. The prevalence of anxiety symptoms was highest among rural primary school students and lowest among city students.
Time to teach: teacher attendance and time on task in secondary schools in Rwanda

Spogmai Akseer; Ximena Jativa

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021
In Rwanda, over 3.5 million children were estimated to be out of school in 2020 when the country closed all schools as a safety measure against the spread of COVID-19. The government quickly developed a national response plan and started the process of hiring teachers, constructing classrooms and training in-service teachers in remote-learning pedagogies. Prior to the lockdown, schools were already experiencing challenges, including low attendance rates. In the post-COVID-19 environment, learning losses are expected to be significant, especially on the acquisition of foundational skills, and will hinder the ministry's efforts to achieve the learning outcomes of its new competence-based curriculum. A Time to Teach study in 2020 in Rwanda found that low teacher attendance was a common problem in primary schools. This study seeks to support the Ministry of Education by providing a comprehensive understanding of secondary school teacher attendance in the country. It builds on findings from the primary schools' study, to understand how attendance challenges may be similar or different across education levels, and more importantly, how these can help inform teacher policy design and implementation.
Time to teach: understanding teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Liberia

Silvia Peirolo; Ximena Jativa

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

In Liberia, recurring school absenteeism and post abandonment are considered critical obstacles to quality education. Although national political actors recognize absenteeism as a major impediment to quality education, studies on the factors influencing teacher attendance in the country, including national policies and practices at the community and school levels, remain scarce. Also, there is a lack of knowledge on the direct and indirect ways the coronavirus pandemic and the measures adopted to contain it impact primary school teachers. This Time to Teach study seeks to fill these knowledge gaps. The report provides valuable insights into how the COVID-19 crisis may exacerbate existing education system challenges that affect teacher attendance and time on task. It also collects and strengthens the evidence base on the factors affecting the various dimensions of primary school teacher attendance to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.

Time to teach: teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Nigeria

Spogmai Akseer; Ximena Jativa

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

Prior to COVID-19 lockdowns, the Federal Republic of Nigeria had taken measures to improve the quality of education and of teachers’ working conditions such as by improving school infrastructure and accelerating teacher training programs, and providing incentive schemes for teachers. While education is free and compulsory, Nigeria reports the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of school closures, and the shift towards remote learning are anticipated to pose further constraints and push even more vulnerable children out of the education system. Teacher absenteeism and the poor use of instructional time are also significant problems for the Nigerian education system, negatively affect students’ academic performance and learning. This Time to Teach study seeks to support both federal and state governments by providing a comprehensive understanding of teacher attendance in the country’s primary schools. It also aims to provide insights into how attendance challenges may be similar or different across the types of schools (public/Quranic/private) and settings (urban/rural) and more importantly, how these can inform teacher policy design and implementation. Though data were collected prior to COVID-19 school closures, this study also aims to provide insights on how the pandemic may further exacerbate existing challenges. 

Primary-school aged children’s understanding and experiences of loneliness: a qualitative enquiry

Aimée Robyn Cole; Caroline Bond; Pamela Qualter

Published: October 2021   Journal: Pastoral Care in Education
Loneliness in childhood and adolescence is currently measured using questionnaires and checklists. The most used questionnaires for youth are psychometrically limited, partly due to the absence of the young person’s voice from the measurement development process. Given this gap in the literature, the current study explored primary-school aged children’s understanding and experiences of loneliness, providing new information about the experience of loneliness in childhood to better inform conceptualisation and measurement of loneliness in children. Interviews took place during the COVID pandemic and were conducted with six Year 4 and 5 children (aged 8–10 years) and analysed using hybrid thematic analysis. Findings fit with existing conceptualisations of social and emotional loneliness and provide novel perspectives on solutions, the importance of play, and children’s perceptions of the adult experience. Directions for future research, and the impact after COVID are discussed.
Experiences with opt-in, at-home screening for SARS-CoV-2 at a primary school in Germany: an implementation study

Jonas Wachinger; Maximilian Schirmer; Nicole Täuber (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: BMJ Paediatrics Open
 Over the course of the pandemic, many countries have repeatedly closed schools and shifted schoolchildren to remote learning. However, evidence for negative mental and physiological health consequences of such measures for schoolchildren is increasing, highlighting the need for evidence-based recommendations on how to safely reopen schools. This study aims to assess implementation experiences, acceptability and feasibility of opt-in, at-home SARS-CoV-2 screening using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) to facilitate safe face-to-face teaching during a pandemic.
Perceived changes in lifestyle behaviours and in mental health and wellbeing of elementary school children during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Canada: lifestyles and mental health and wellbeing of children during the lockdown

Katerina Maximova; Mohammad KA. Khan; Julia Dabravolskaj (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Public Health
The closure of schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 prompted concerns of deteriorating lifestyle behaviours, mental health and wellbeing of children, particularly those in socioeconomically disadvantaged settings. This study assessed changes in lifestyle behaviours (physical activity, screen time, eating habits and bed/wake-up times), mental health and wellbeing during the first lockdown in Spring 2020 as perceived by school children from disadvantaged settings, and examined determinants of these changes.
An investigation of anxiety and depression among Chinese primary school students after the resumption of school post-COVID-19

Yiqing He; Yuanrong Li

Published: October 2021   Journal: Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies
This study used the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) and 9 Patients Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) to investigate the anxiety and depression of 1366 primary school students in Shenzhen after the resumption of school. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents began wondering whether months of isolation, a lack of organized school education, and potential loss of relatives would have a long-term impact on their children’s mental health. The results of this study indicate that the rates of anxiety and depression among primary school students are indeed higher than before COVID-19, including the detection rate of anxiety and depression comorbidity, which has reached 11.7%.
Likelihood of COVID-19 vaccination among primary school students in Hong Kong

Kin On Kwok; Kin-Kit Li; Wan In Wei (et al.)

Published: October 2021   Journal: Clinical Microbiology and Infection

Although coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may pose a lower risk of transmission to children than to adults, and schools have contributed little to infection among parents, many countries nevertheless implemented school closure. Following the emergence of the δ variant, which is more transmissible and globally dominant, the percentage of primary school-aged children testing positive has been increasing. Progressively, the circumstances have become more favourable to recommend vaccination of children because of the increased burden on children resulting from the new variants and the supporting evidence from the ongoing vaccine trials among school-aged children. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for children is an important step in reopening schools safely. Understanding parental intention to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 will help inform broad strategies to maximize immunization rates among children. This study was conducted in Hong Kong, a densely populated travel hub in southeast China where residents average 12.5 daily contacts

“Education cannot cease”: the experiences of parents of primary age children (age 4-11) in Northern Ireland during school closures due to COVID-19

Jessica Bates; Jayne Finlay; Una O’Connor Bones

Published: September 2021   Journal: Educational Review
This paper reports the research findings from an online survey of parents of primary-age pupils in Northern Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aims of the study were to explore how parents supported their child/ren’s home learning; to ascertain the communication, guidance and resources between home and school; and to learn from the experiences of parents to enable more effective practices to be established should similar circumstances arise in the future. The survey yielded 2,509 responses and highlighted the divergence of practices in relation to home-school communications across schools as well as the challenges experienced by parents, particularly those who had one or more children with special educational needs and/or those who had Free School Meal Entitlement.
Assessment of a program for SARS-CoV-2 screening and environmental monitoring in an urban public school district

John Crowe; Andy T. Schnaubelt; Scott SchmidtBonne (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: JAMA Netw Open

Scalable programs for school-based SARS-CoV-2 testing and surveillance are needed to guide in-person learning practices and inform risk assessments in kindergarten through 12th grade settings. To characterize SARS-CoV-2 infections in staff and students in an urban public school setting and evaluate test-based strategies to support ongoing risk assessment and mitigation for kindergarten through 12th grade in-person learning. This pilot quality improvement program engaged 3 schools in Omaha, Nebraska, for weekly saliva polymerase chain reaction testing of staff and students participating in in-person learning over a 5-week period from November 9 to December 11, 2020. Wastewater, air, and surface samples were collected weekly and tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA to evaluate surrogacy for case detection and interrogate transmission risk of in-building activities.

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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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