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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Save Our Education: Protect every child’s right to learn in the COVID-19 response and recovery

AUTHOR(S)
Emma Wagner; Hollie Warner

Published: July 2020   Save the Children International
New analysis in this global report shows how COVID-19 may impact the funding of education, as well as the countries most at risk of falling behind. It also highlights the change we want to see for children and recommendations for governments and the international community so we can keep learning alive, support every child to return to school and build back for better learning.
Cite this research | Open access | No. of pages: 102 | Tags: children, education, COVID-19 | Topics: Education | Publisher: Save the Children
Learning in times of lockdown: how Covid-19 is affecting education and food security in India

AUTHOR(S)
Muzna Alvi; Manavi Gupta

Published: July 2020   Food Security
This paper discusses the implications of lockdown-induced school and rural child-care center closures on education and health outcomes for the urban and rural poor. It focuses on food and nutritional security of children who depend on school feeding and supplementary nutrition programs. Authors argue that the impacts are likely to be much more severe for girls as well as for children from already disadvantaged ethnic and caste groups. They also discuss ways in which existing social security programs can be leveraged and strengthened to ameliorate these impacts.
Gender Inequality and the COVID-19 Crisis: A Human Development Perspective
Published: July 2020   UNDP Report
Across several social, economic, and political dimensions, women and girls are disproportionately affected by the crisis simply because of their sex. The immediate effects of COVID-19 on gender inequality are already showing themselves in health and education, on the burden of unpaid care work and gender-based violence.
While the COVID-19 crisis affects everyone, women and girls face specific and often disproportionate economic, health, and social risks due to deeply entrenched inequalities, social norms, and unequal power relations. Understanding the gender-differentiated impacts of the COVID-19 crisis through sex-disaggregated data is fundamental to designing policy responses that reduce vulnerable conditions and strengthen women's agency, placing gender equality at their centre. This is not just about rectifying long-standing inequalities but also about building a more just and resilient world.
Because We Matter: Addressing COVID-19 and violence against girls in Asia-Pacific
Published: July 2020  
Asia is home to more than half of the world’s 1.1 billion girls. Gender inequality in many parts of the region means that girls are often systematically disadvantaged and oppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion, and discrimination. Emerging data shows that since the outbreak of COVID-19, violence against girls and women, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. Partly due to containment measures during COVID19, systems and services that are mandated to prevent, identify, and respond to violence against children are operating with limited or no capacity. Inadequate levels of government and donor investments in child protection, as well as gaps in the functionality of systems and effective enforcement of laws and policies have been pervasive. These existing challenges have been further exacerbated by the pandemic and are now affecting all children, while disproportionately impacting girls.
The Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 on Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa

AUTHOR(S)
Tal Rafaeli; Geraldine Hutchinson

Published: June 2020   K4D Helpdesk Report
Based on emerging evidence and lessons from past health crises, there is strong evidence to suggest that women and girls in SSA will suffer from extreme and multifaceted negative secondary impact as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Some of which may include higher poverty rates, increase in unplanned pregnancies, a surge in school dropout rates and child labour of adolescent girls, loss of income and reduced financial empowerment, increased household work, reduced access to healthcare and WASH alongside increased maternal deaths, and greater food insecurity and malnutrition.
Soro Sali, a 39 years old woman is practicing Kangaroo, at the Regional Hospital of Korhogo, in the North of Côte d'Ivoire.
Data to inform the COVID-19 response
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Timely, disaggregated, and quality data on the situation of children can help identify where the most vulnerable live so that interventions to counteract the potential adverse effects of COVID-19 can be implemented to reach those most in need. UNICEF’s call to protect children, especially the most marginalized, is essential now more than ever and our global databases can inform that response by painting a picture of children around the world. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, where are children especially vulnerable to physical punishment? Are sufficient hygiene facilities available in schools? And is healthcare accessible for children with acute respiratory symptoms? How will the most vulnerable children, such as those living on the street or in refugee camps fare? Data like these can provide guidance for UNICEF and country programmes so that our efforts to mitigate and overcome the effects of the pandemic can be measured.
Migrant and displaced children in the age of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Danzen You; Naomi Lindt; Rose Allen; et al.

Published: June 2020   Migration Policy Practice

This article examines the socioeconomic challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for children on the move across four dimensions: poverty, survival and health, learning and protection and safety.  It also considers how new laws and regulations enacted in response to the pandemic are impacting these children. It then suggests the necessary policies and actions to protect this intensely vulnerable population. 
Many displaced children will see their family’s income shrink or disappear and, globally, poverty levels are expected to worsen. Vulnerable populations are predicted to disproportionately bear the brunt of this economic contraction. Poor health systems and disrupted health services – a reality for many migrant and displaced children – are likely to further weaken, placing children at risk of intensified hardship, both physical and psychological. The crowded conditions and poor access to proper water and sanitation common among families living in displacement pose obvious risks at a time when social distancing and hygiene are so critical.  
Migrant and displaced learners regularly encounter obstacles in accessing education, and the online materials and remote classrooms functioning around the world today may be far from their reach. They are at risk of falling further behind in school. And given that economic downturns typically lead to more children working, getting pregnant or married, and being trafficked or sexually exploited, migrant and displaced children – who already face great risks to their safety — stand to see their situation worsen. Domestic violence is on the rise globally, and accounts of stigma and discrimination against the displaced are also increasing. The increasing global death toll means some migrant and displaced children will be orphaned and become vulnerable to child protection abuses.  

Should Coronavirus Disease 2019–Associated Inflammatory Syndromes in Children Affect Social Reintegration?

AUTHOR(S)
Michael Portman; Rolando Cimaz

Published: June 2020   JAMA Pediatrics
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) appears to induce this new condition, which has been called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS) or pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) and described in detail by investigators in Europe and New York, New York. Pediatric inflammatory syndromes presumably triggered by SARS-CoV-2 exposure deserve heightened awareness because they have critical and potentially life-altering outcomes on affected children. However, unless a substantial increase in case numbers occurs over the coming months, these syndromes remain rare and should not be used to substantially change decisions affecting millions of schoolchildren, given the negative outcomes of delaying school reopenings. These include adverse outcomes on child mental health and learning. Additionally, school delays will produce further societal inequities.
Children wait for a teacher in a classroom at Treichville Regional School, in the city of Abidjan. Although the school reopened after being closed for many years due to armed conflict, most teachers remain absent. (2011)
Framework for reopening schools
Published: June 2020 UNICEF Publication
Global school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic present an unprecedented risk to children’s education, protection and well-being. Schools do much more than teach children how to read, write and count. They also provide nutrition, health and hygiene services; mental health and psychosocial support; and dramatically reduce the risk of violence, early pregnancy and more. And it’s the most vulnerable children who are the hardest hit by school closures, and we know from previous crises that the longer they are out of school, the less likely they are to return.When deciding whether to reopen schools, authorities should look at the benefits and risks across education, public health and socio-economic factors, in the local context, using the best available evidence. This policy brief aims to inform the decision-making process regarding school reopening, support national preparations and guide the implementation process, as part of overall public health and education planning processes. The guidelines outline six key priorities to assess the readiness of those schools and inform planning.
COVID-19 Impacts on African Children: How to protect-a-generation at risk

AUTHOR(S)
Eric Hazard

Published: June 2020  
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented with the virus spreading in almost all countries in the world. In Africa, 55 out of 54 countries have reported at least one COVID-19 infection. Luckily for Africa, confirmed COVID-19 cases remain comparatively low, at 158,000 as of June 3rd; which is partly attributable to early and decisive action taken by many African governments as well as a youthful population. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Africa not only as a health crisis but also as a devastating socio-economic crisis that may persist over the months and years to come. This policy paper underscores that, although children do not represent a high-risk group for direct COVID-19 fatality, the pandemic posts far-reaching secondary impacts that heighten risks to African children’s rights and wellbeing.
Supporting Schools to Provide Safe Online learning Experience
Published: May 2020   End Violence Against Children

Across the world, COVID-19 and resulting isolation measures have taken more than 1.5 billion children out of the classroom. Most of those children are now learning online – and while digital solutions are essential to maintaining children’s education, they may also be increasing their exposure to online risks. Today, partners from the Safe to Learn coalition issued guidance for facilitating safe, effective online learning experiences for children during COVID-19. This guidance is directed at education ministries as they develop policies and resources to support schools in providing a safe online learning experience.

Impacts of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Children in Temporary Accommodation in the UK

AUTHOR(S)
Diana Margo Rosenthal; Marcella Ucci; Michelle Heys; et al.

Published: May 2020   The Lancet Public Health
There is no doubt that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has huge economic implications as highlighted by the media, but there are also a myriad of considerable direct and indirect health, social, and educational consequences for children and families experiencing homelessness, while living in temporary or insecure accommodation (eg, staying with friends or family, sofa surfing, shelters, bed and breakfast lodging). In particular, young children (aged ≤5 years) living in temporary accommodation have an invisible plight that might not seem obvious to many people because they are not on the streets as homeless (eg, rough sleepers), but are perhaps the most susceptible to viral infection because of pre-existing conditions (eg, diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, anxiety, depression).1 Additionally, these children rarely have the ability to self-isolate and adhere to social distancing, with previous extreme inequalities and inequities in accessing health care becoming exacerbated.
COVID-19 & Disruptions to Education
Published: May 2020  
The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking unprecedented havoc on the lives of millions, creating devastating impacts on children, families and communities around the world. This brief focuses on the pandemic’s impact on children’s education, which cannot be overstated. COVID-19 related school and university closures have disrupted the education of more than 1.5 billion learners—over 90% of the world’s student population.
COVID-19 Risks to Children's Health and Nutrition
Published: May 2020  
The COVID-19 pandemic is putting millions of children at heightened risk, and jeopardising their immediate and long-term health and well-being. As countries around the world battle to prevent, contain and respond to COVID-19, it is critical that their efforts reach those most vulnerable and ensure primary health care  is continued and accessible to all. All stakeholders must take proactive measures to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on children’s health and nutrition, and response efforts should consider vulnerable children’s needs and rights. Based on extensive experience working with children, families and communities in emergencies, including epidemics, World Vision outlines a number of recommendations for Governments, UN Agencies, Donors, NGOS, Private Sector, and Faith Leaders. 
School Closure and Management Practices During Coronavirus Outbreaks Including COVID-19: A Rapid Systematic Review

AUTHOR(S)
Russel Viner; Simon Russel; Helen Croker; et al.

Published: May 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, 107 countries had implemented national school closures by March 18, 2020. It is unknown whether school measures are effective in coronavirus outbreaks (eg, due to severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS], Middle East respiratory syndrome, or COVID-19). This systematic review seeks to identify what is known about the effectiveness of school closures and other school social distancing practices during coronavirus outbreaks. Data from the SARS outbreak in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore suggest that school closures did not contribute to the control of the epidemic. Modelling studies of SARS produced conflicting results. Recent modelling studies of COVID-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2–4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions. Policy makers need to be aware of the equivocal evidence when considering school closures for COVID-19, and that combinations of social distancing measures should be considered. Other less disruptive social distancing interventions in schools require further consideration if restrictive social distancing policies are implemented for long periods.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 4 | Issue: 5 | No. of pages: 5 | Language: English | Tags: children, school attendance, schools, COVID-19 | Topics: Education
How COVID-19 is changing the world: A statistical perspective
Published: May 2020  

This report has been compiled jointly by 36 international organizations, under the aegis of the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA).
It covers different aspects of public and private life from economic and environmental fluctuations to changes that affect individuals in terms of income, education, employment and violence and changes affecting public services such as civil aviation and postal services. The report also puts a spotlight on the affects for some sub-population groups like women and children as well as geographical regions. Children already left behind will likely bear the brunt of the pandemic’s impact, whether through missing out on life-saving vaccinations, increased risk of violence, or interrupted education. Many children, especially those in the poorest households and the poorest parts of the world, risk losing their lives to pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, HIV and other preventable diseases unless urgent action is taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

 

COVID-19, School Closures, and Child Poverty: A Social Crisis in the Making

AUTHOR(S)
Wim Van Lancker; Zachary Parolin

Published: April 2020   The Lancet Public Health
While coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread across the globe, many countries have decided to close schools as part of a physical distancing policy to slow transmission and ease the burden on health systems. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization estimates that 138 countries have closed schools nationwide, and several other countries have implemented regional or local closures. These school closures are affecting the education of 80% of children worldwide. Although scientific debate is ongoing with regard to the effectiveness of school closures on virus transmission, the fact that schools are closed for a long period of time could have detrimental social and health consequences for children living in poverty, and are likely to exacerbate existing inequalities. We discuss two mechanisms through which school closures will affect poor children in the USA and Europe.
The Impact of COVID-19 on children
Published: April 2020  

The UN Secretary-General has launched a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on children. The brief lays out the ways in which the virus will impact children.  Whilst they appear largely to be spared the worst symptoms of the disease, they may well be among the biggest victims of the crisis in the long run because their education, nutrition, safety and health will be significantly undermined by the socioeconomic impact and by unintended consequences of the pandemic response. The harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally. They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest countries, and in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations. This policy brief provides a deeper analysis of these effects. It identifies also a series of immediate and sustained actions for the attention of governments and policymakers.

Mental health effects of school closures during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Joyce Lee

Published: April 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
For children and adolescents with mental health needs, school closures mean a lack of access to the resources they usually have through schools. School routines are important coping mechanisms for young people with mental health issues. When schools are closed, they lose an anchor in life and their symptoms could relapse.
Children with special education needs, such as those with autism spectrum disorder, are also at risk. With speech therapy sessions and social skills groups suspended, children with special needs might miss their chance to develop essential skills. There is a need to monitor young people's mental health status over the long term, and to study how prolonged school closures, strict social distancing measures, and the pandemic itself affect the wellbeing of children and adolescents.
Mental health effects of school closures during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Joyce Lee

Published: April 2020   The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic—and the social distancing measures that many countries have implemented—have caused disruptions to daily routines. As of April 8, 2020, schools have been suspended nationwide in 188 countries, according to UNESCO. Over 90% of enrolled learners (1·5 billion young people) worldwide are now out of education. For children and adolescents with mental health needs, such closures mean a lack of access to the resources they usually have through schools. In a survey by the mental health charity YoungMinds, which included 2111 participants up to age 25 years with a mental illness history in the UK, 83% said the pandemic had made their conditions worse. 26% said they were unable to access mental health support; peer support groups and face-to-face services have been cancelled, and support by phone or online can be challenging for some young people.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 4 | Issue: 6 | No. of pages: 8 | Language: English | Tags: adolescents, children, mental health, pandemic, COVID-19 | Topics: Education, Mental Health, Health | Countries: United Kingdom
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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. Learn more.

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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.