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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 863
How much does universal digital learning cost?

Haogen Yao; Mathieu Brossard; Suguru Mizunoya (et al.)

Published: January 2022

COVID-19 school closures initially revealed more than 75% of children lacked access to critical digital learning opportunities. Three out of four were living in the poorest 40% of households. Digital learning is impossible without connectivity and electricity. However, in places like Chad, Malawi and Niger, the proportion of people with access to electricity is below 1 in 5. What efforts will ensure these children are not further left behind in future crises if schools are again closed? How much will universal access to digital learning cost? The answer is US$1.4 trillion. This paper estimates the cost of universalizing digital learning by 2030, in alignment with the conceptual framework of the Reimagine Education initiative. It provides a rationale for cost assumptions; classifies costs into enabling digital learning and delivering digital learning; and, finally, discusses financing achievability by comparing the estimated costs with current spending in education and other sectors.

Association between homeschooling and adolescent sleep duration and health during COVID-19 pandemic high school closures

Joëlle N. Albrecht; Helene Werner; Noa Rieger (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: JAMA Network Open

Although negative associations of COVID-19 pandemic high school closures with adolescents’ health have been demonstrated repeatedly, some research has reported a beneficial association of these closures with adolescents’ sleep. The present study was, to our knowledge, the first to combine both perspectives. This study aimed to investigate associations between adolescents’ sleep and health-related characteristics during COVID-19 pandemic school closures in Switzerland. This survey study used cross-sectional online surveys circulated among the students of 21 public high schools in Zurich, Switzerland. The control sample completed the survey under regular, prepandemic conditions (May to July 2017) and the lockdown sample during school closures (May to June 2020). Survey respondents were included in the study if they provided their sex, age, and school.

Preschool education optimization based on mobile edge computing under COVID-19

Hongzhi Wei; Yuqian Yang; Zhijian Liu

Published: January 2022   Journal: Expert Systems
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought profound changes in people's live and work. It has also accelerated the development of education from traditional model to online model, which is particularly important in preschool education. Preschoolers communicate with teachers through online video, so how to provide high quality and low latency online teaching has become a new challenge. In cloud computing, users offload computing tasks to the cloud to meet the high computing demands of their devices, but cloud-based solutions have led to huge bandwidth usage and unpredictable latency. In order to solve this problem, mobile edge computing (MEC) deploys the server at the edge of the network to provide the service with close range and low latency. In task scheduling, edge computing (EC) devices have rational thinking, and they are unwilling to collaborate with MEC server to perform tasks due to their selfishness. Therefore, it is necessary to design an effective incentive mechanism to encourage the collaboration of EC devices.
The impact of extended e-learning on emotional well-being of students during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia

Sehar-un-Nisa Hassan; Fahad D. Algahtani; Mohammad Raafat Atteya (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Children
Educational institutions in Saudi Arabia extended e-learning until the third semester of the academic calendar to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection and to achieve 70% inoculation for the Saudi population. This study assesses the impact of extended e-learning and other associated stressors on the emotional health of university students in Saudi Arabia. An online cross-sectional survey collected data between the months of January–March 2021. The emotional signs of stress were measured by using a subset of items from the COVID-19 Adolescent Symptom and Psychological Experience Questionnaire (CASPE). Data about demographic variables, educational characteristics and academic performance were also collected. A regression analysis was performed to determine predictors of emotional health. A total of 434 university students including females (63%) and males (37%) provided responses.
Teachers’ perspectives on the delivery of transitional outreach activities and their potential to raise secondary school students’ Higher Education aspirations during the Covid-19 pandemic

Anthea Rose; Lucy Mallinson

Published: December 2021   Journal: Journal of Further and Higher Education
The role secondary schools play in raising student aspirations for, and encouraging progression into, Higher Education through supported outreach is important but often overlooked by both colleges and universities alike. This article reports on our work within Uni Connect’s ‘Raising Higher Education Aspirations’ programme in Lincolnshire which delivers targeted university-inspiring transitional outreach activities to Year 9–13 students from disadvantaged backgrounds with low levels of social and cultural capital, little or no familial habitus of Higher Education and where Higher Education participation is lower than expected. Specifically, this article considers university-inspiring transitional outreach from the perspective of six secondary school Uni Connect programme leads. Semi-structured interviews conducted with school leads over a 12-month period between October 2019 and November 2020 provided a unique insight into the successes and challenges schools face in delivering aspirational Higher Education outreach.
Parents as educators during lockdown: juggling multiple simultaneous roles to ‘keep atop’ home-schooling amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

Denise Mifsud

Published: December 2021   Journal: Journal of Educational Administration and History
As from the first quarter of 2020, the spotlight in global news has shone brightly on the Covid-19 pandemic story. One of the major shifts occurred in education as efforts to stem the spread of the virus prompted school closures. Schools gradually shifted to online teaching, and parents were thus forced to combine their regular jobs with supporting the education of their children. Through the collection of qualitative data from focus groups held with various stakeholders, this paper seeks to explore the emerging home-schooling scenario in Malta and the unplanned for and unprecedented adaptation to an online education environment, in order to examine the novel challenges and tensions that emerged between family, school and work. Despite being conducted in a relatively small nation state, this study offers the possibility of opening a dialogue within the global context with ramifications of a new paradigm shift in education, re-shaped by the novel coronavirus.
A generational catastrophe: COVID-19 and children’s access to education and food in South Africa

Debra Shepherd; Nompumelelo Mohohlwane

Published: December 2021   Journal: Development Southern Africa
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, children have been put at greater risk of school drop-out, as well as food insecurity and emotional health deterioration. This paper considers these issues as they have occurred in South Africa. It uses all waves of the National Income Dynamics Study–Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey to estimate non-return to school, access to school meals, and household well-being. The number of learners not attending school in 2021 is estimated to be close to quadruple pre-pandemic levels. Combined with estimates of learning lost, we can conclude that the pandemic has worn away at two decades of progress made in basic education. Evidence also indicates that school feeding has been slow to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Deepened levels of household hunger combined with a lack of access to free school meals is indicated to contribute to significantly greater levels of caregiver anxiety and psychological distress.
Digital parenting during the COVID-19 lockdowns: how Chinese parents viewed and mediated young children’s digital use

Simin Cao; Chuanmei Dong; Hui Li

Published: December 2021   Journal: Early Child Development and Care
The COVID-19 lockdowns had forced young children to take digital preschooling and their parents to practize digital parenting. This study explored how Chinese parents viewed and mediated early digital use during the lockdowns. A total of 2491 parents were recruited nationally and surveyed online in late 2020. The results indicated that: (1) Chinese parents held mixed views of early digital use with some being positive (25.09%), and negative (35.13%), and balanced or ambivalent (32.64%); (2) they were concerned about the negative impact on early learning and development even though the lockdown has led to an inevitable surge in digital use; and (3) they mainly perceived parental roles as guides (35.84%) and supervisors (32.04%) and adopted four digital parenting approaches: supervision, active mediation, restrictive mediation, and co-use or co-view. The findings imply that Chinese parents were not ready to cope with the challenges caused by early digital use.
Parental perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 and returning to play based on level of sport

Michael B. Edwards; Jason N. Bocarro; Kyle S. Bunds (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Sport in Society
This study examined the impact of COVID-19 on youth sport parents based on competition level to understand how the pandemic affected youth sport and factors associated with youth returning to sport. Survey data were collected from samples of US sport parents in two waves - early in the pandemic (N = 751) and as programs began to resume (N = 707). Data showed elite sport parents were more willing to return. Although most participants returned to play, significant numbers had not resumed participation. Parent comfort was the most important factor associated with resuming. However, parents allowed children to resume play due to perceived external pressure, potentially creating stress among parents regarding sport participation decisions. Attending school in person and household income were associated with the ability to resume sport suggesting the need to provide school sport environments and consider the financial impacts of COVID-19 on sport families.
After the virus: disaster capitalism, digital inequity, and transformative education for the future of schooling

Richard Miller; Katrina Liu

Published: December 2021   Journal: Education and Urban Society
The 2020 COVID-19 disaster triggered an educational crisis in the United States, deeply exacerbating the inequities present in education as schools went online. This primary impact may not be the only one, however: literature describes a secondary impact of such disasters through “disaster capitalism,” in which the private sector captures the public resources of disaster-struck communities for profit. In response to these warnings, we ask how schools, families, and communities can counteract disaster capitalism for educational equity. To address this question, this study first synthesizes a critical framework for analyzing digital inequity in education. It then dissect the strategies disaster capitalism uses to attack the school-family-community relationship and exacerbate digital inequity in “normal” times as well as during crises. Employing the notion of community funds of knowledge, it next examines the resources schools, families, and communities can mobilize against disaster capitalism and digital inequity. Finally, guided by the concepts of generative change and transformative learning, this study considers actionable practices of countering disaster capitalism for a transformative education.
COVID-19 testing in schools: perspectives of school administrators, teachers, parents, and students in Southern California

Jennifer B. Unger; Daniel Soto; Ryan Lee (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Health Promot Practice

School-based COVID-19 testing is a potential strategy to facilitate the safe reopening of schools that have been closed due to the pandemic. This qualitative study assessed attitudes toward this strategy among four groups of stakeholders: school administrators, teachers, parents, and high school students. Focus groups and interviews were conducted in Los Angeles from December 2020 to January 2021 when schools were closed due to the high level of COVID transmission in the community.

Positive family environment, general distress, subjective well-being, and academic engagement among high school students before and during the COVID-19 outbreak

José Concepción Gaxiola Romero; Antonio Pineda Domínguez; Eunice Gaxiola Villa (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: School Psychology International
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the family dynamics of most people worldwide as well as the mode in which students take classes. The impact of such changes on students’ well-being, academic engagement, and general distress remains unknown. Therefore, this study aims to test the structural relations among positive family environment (a measure of Positive Home-Based Parent Involvement [HBI]), subjective well-being (SWB), general distress, and academic engagement, focusing on Mexican high school students. A longitudinal study was conducted covering two time points: before (T1) and during (T2) the COVID-19 outbreak. A sample of 502 students answered questionnaires in T1 whereas 111 did so in T2. Analyses were conducted using Mplus software.
Parents’ perceptions of secondary school students’ motivation and well-being before and during the COVID-19 lockdown: the moderating role of student characteristics

Lisette Hornstra; Linda van den Bergh; Jaap J. A. Denissen (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs
During the COVID-19 lockdown of spring 2020, Dutch children were being homeschooled. This study examined how parents’ (n = 470) perceptions of secondary school students’ (Mage = 14.23 years) need satisfaction, academic motivation and well-being differed before the lockdown (assessed retrospectively) and during the lockdown. Furthermore, it examined the differential impact of the lockdown for different groups of children based on parental educational level, academic track, gender and special educational needs (SEN).
“Why can't I see my friends and family?”: Children's questions and parental explanations about Coronavirus

Amanda S. Haber; Sona C. Kumar; Hannah Puttre (et al.)

Published: December 2021   Journal: Mind, Brain, and Education
Question-explanation exchanges in parent–child interactions foster children's early learning, especially when children are inquiring about unobservable scientific phenomena such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As with other unobservable entities, children must rely on adults to acquire knowledge about COVID-19. Yet, we know very little about what children understand about COVID-19 or its consequences. This study explored developmental changes in children's questions about COVID-19 and parents' explanations. Parents (n = 182) of children (aged 3–8) completed an online survey, which included demographic information, parents' explanations, and children's questions. Parents' explanations referenced germs, used illness analogies, and mentioned mitigation strategies. Most of children's COVID-related questions focused on the consequences of COVID-19. Whereas older children asked more about death, younger children asked about loss of activities.
The experience of SENCOs in England during the COVID-19 pandemic: the amplification and exposure of pre-existing strengths and challenges and the prioritisation of mental health and wellbeing in schools

Adam Boddison; Helen Curran

Published: December 2021   Journal: About this Journal Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs
A national survey of Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) in England was conducted during the summer of 2020 in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The annually conducted survey typically collates demographic data about the SENCO workforce, but given the wider context, this particular survey also included nine questions about SENCOs' experiences during the pandemic. More than 1000 SENCOs participated in the survey and the findings demonstrate the critical contribution of SENCOs in supporting pupils with SEND and maintaining effective communication with their families during the pandemic. The study provides evidence of an amplification effect in relation to the strengths and challenges that SENCOs had been experiencing prior to the pandemic. The study also demonstrates the importance of prioritising mental health and wellbeing in schools for both pupils and staff in the wake of the pandemic, with this being the key priority identified by SENCOs across all types of setting and all phases of 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.