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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 812
What could we do differently next time? Australian parents’ experiences of the short-term and long-term impacts of home schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic

Alyssa R. Morse; Michelle Banfield; Philip J. Batterham (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: BMC Public Health

COVID-19 lockdowns have resulted in school closures worldwide, requiring curriculum to be delivered to children remotely (home schooling). Qualitative evidence is needed to provide important context to the positive and negative impacts of home schooling and inform strategies to support caregivers and children as the pandemic continues. This study aimed to explore the experiences of home schooling caregivers at multiple time-points during the pandemic. Data were obtained from a longitudinal survey of a representative Australian sample conducted over 8 waves during 2020 and 2021. Participants who had home schooled at least one child during COVID-19 completed open-ended questions at Wave 4 (May 2020; n = 176), Wave 7 (June 2020; n = 145), and Wave 8 (March 2021; n = 57). Participants were asked to describe what they found positive and challenging about home schooling (Wave 4), what they would do differently if they home schooled their children again (Wave 7), and the longer-term impacts of home schooling on caregivers and children (Wave 8).

Parental support for young learners’ online learning of English in a Chinese primary school

Jian Tao; Yueting Xu

Published: January 2022   Journal: System
Online language learning is challenging to young learners who often need high levels of support from teachers and parents due to their limited skills in self-regulated learning. While technology integration in education is on the rise, there continues to be a lack of research into how young learners can be better supported in online language learning. This qualitative study examines how parents support young learners' online learning of English during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on interviews with 30 parents of students in Grades 1–5 at a Chinese primary school. The study reveals a range of supportive practices: monitoring of learning emerged as the top priority for parents, followed by affective, academic and technology support. Most of these parental support strategies were mediated primarily by the children's grade level and/or parents' socioeconomic background. Parents also sought teachers' help and played bridging roles to enable teacher-student interaction, particularly when they were unable to provide direct help themselves.
‘I already know about it, I’ve been watching the Daily News and updates’: teenagers’ questions about the scientific and social aspects of COVID-19

Jenny Byrne; Alison Marston; Marcus Grace (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: Journal of Biological Education
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surfeit of information and misinformation in the media about it. The lockdown in England meant that schools were closed from March to June, meaning that students had limited access, in school, to ask questions and discuss the biology of the novel virus (SARS-CoV-2) or the impact of the pandemic on themselves, their families and friends. In this small-scale exploratory study, we decided to ask students (15–16-year-olds) on their return to school in June 2020 and in September 2020, what they wanted to know about COVID-19. Findings show that their questions were similar at both time points, indicating that students wanted to know the same things. This suggests that despite the high volume of information available in the media, some of the students’ questions had not been answered or that sources of information were confused and at times contradictory. Interestingly, the questions they asked were based on reliable sources of news rather than fake news, and this finding seems to contradict the literature that indicates young people are prone to believing misinformation. The implications for teaching and learning about COVID-19, and other zoonotic diseases as socio-scientific issues are discussed.
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.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted both school bullying and cyberbullying

Andrew Bacher-Hicks; Joshua Goodman; Jennifer G. Green (et al.)

Institution: National Bureau of Economic Research
Published: December 2021   Journal: NBER Working Paper Series

One-fifth of U.S. high school students report being bullied each year. This study uses internet search data for real-time tracking of bullying patterns as COVID-19 disrupted in-person schooling. It first shows that, prepandemic, internet searches contain useful information about actual bullying behavior. It then shows that searches for school bullying and cyberbullying dropped 30-35 percent as schools shifted to remote learning in spring 2020. The gradual return to in-person instruction starting in fall 2020 partially returns bullying searches to pre-pandemic levels. This rare positive effect may partly explain recent mixed evidence on the pandemic’s impact on students’ mental health and well-being.

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.
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.

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).
COVID-19 and resilience in schools: implications for practice and policy

Suniya S. Luthar; Lisa S. Pao; Nina L. Kumar

Published: December 2021   Journal: Social Policy Report
This is a mixed-methods study of risk and resilience in a sample of over 14,000 students from 49 schools, assessed during the first 3 months of COVID-19 in the United States. Over a third of students were of color and almost a third received financial aid. Participation rates were typically 90–99%. Overall, rates of clinically significant depression and anxiety were lower during distance learning in 2020 as compared to parallel rates documented during 2019, with a few exceptions. Hispanic students did not show reductions in depression rates, nor did gender non-binary youth. Analyses of multiple risk and protective factors showed that in relation to depression, the most potent predictor was parent support, with effect sizes at least twice as high as those for any other predictor.
Reconfiguring home: seeing remote work and school through mothers and their children
Published: December 2021   Journal: Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings
What happens when we include children as equal participants? In a project to identify design opportunities to support working mothers during a time when schools have closed across the U.S. in response to COVID-19, this study crafted the research to create space for children to voice their needs. Opportunities for all parties involved have been offered—the designers, the researchers, and the moms who participated.
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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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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.