#COVID19

COVID-19 & Children

Rapid Research Response

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Introduction

As many as 1.5 billion children have lost precious weeks and months of educational progress. Millions of particularly vulnerable children – migrants and refugees, the poor, those affected by violence and exploitation – are being exposed to even higher levels of risk during the pandemic. According to the UN's policy brief on COVID-19 and children, "There are three main ways children are affected by this crisis: infection with the virus itself; immediate socioeconomic impacts of measures to stop transmission of the virus; and longer-term effects of delayed implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals." 

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to provide the evidence needed to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and to prepare interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.

Research agenda

Download Our Research Agenda

SHORT TERM PROJECTS

 

LONG TERM PROJECTS

  • Children’s experiences and views of COVID-19
  • COVID-19 lessons on providing assistive technology to persons with disability in humanitarian response 
  • Children’s online engagement during COVID-19
  • Review of emerging evidence on mental health among children and adolescents
  • A review of evidence from previous health crises on the social impacts on children, families, and communities, including from humanitarian settings and emerging evidence from COVID-19.

 

(Download the full COVID-19 and Children Research Workplan for details on long term projects)

 

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS

  • Review of emerging evidence on child and adolescents’ mental health in the context of COVID-19
    Review of emerging evidence, interventions, and lessons to inform policy and programmes on children, families, and communities during COVID-19.
  • A review of emerging evidence and implications for programmes and policy.
    An open, searchable evidence repository of scientific evidence related to children and COVID-19.
  • Children and COVID-19 Research Library
    An open-access, fully searchable, and curated repository of the latest scientific evidence related to COVID-19 and children will be made available as a global public good in mid-July.

 

ETHICS

 

 


Download Our Full Research Agenda - Living Document

 

Download Our short summary Agenda


Research publications

What Have We Learnt? Findings from a survey of ministries of education on national responses to COVID-19
Report Report

What Have We Learnt? Findings from a survey of ministries of education on national responses to COVID-19

(4 November 2020) At the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.5 billion children were affected by school closures, causing an unprecedented global learning crisis. Even prior to the pandemic, however, children’s learning was in crisis with half of 10-year-olds in middle- and low-income countries unable to understand a simple written sentence and more than a quarter billion children out of school. The pandemic has only sharpened these inequities, hitting schoolchildren in poorer countries particularly hard. National governments around the world have been quick to implement remote learning, new health protocols and reopening plans, but again these policies have varied widely based on each country’s wealth.
COVID-19: How prepared are global education systems for future crises?
Research Brief Research Brief

COVID-19: How prepared are global education systems for future crises?

This research brief is one of a series exploring the effects of COVID-19 on education. It focuses on how school closures affect children and the resiliency of education systems to respond to such disruptions and mitigate their effect.
COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education
Working Paper Working Paper

COVID-19: A reason to double down on investments in pre-primary education

This paper summarizes the recent UNICEF analysis on investing in early childhood education in developing countries. It provides a benefit-cost analysis of investments in pre-primary education in 109 developing low- and middle-income countries and territories, using data from 2008 to 2019.
COVID-19: How are Countries Preparing to Mitigate the Learning Loss as Schools Reopen? Trends and emerging good practices to support the most vulnerable children
Research Brief Research Brief

COVID-19: How are Countries Preparing to Mitigate the Learning Loss as Schools Reopen? Trends and emerging good practices to support the most vulnerable children

Some countries are starting to reopen schools as others develop plans to do so following widespread and extended closures due to COVID-19. Using data from two surveys and 164 countries, this research brief describes the educational strategies countries are putting into place, or plan to, in order to mitigate learning impacts of extended school closures, particularly for the most vulnerable children. In addition, it highlights emerging good practices.
Childcare in a Global Crisis: The Impact of COVID-19 on work and family life
Research Brief Research Brief

Childcare in a Global Crisis: The Impact of COVID-19 on work and family life

This brief takes a global perspective on one of these four aspects – childcare in the early years. In the current context of lockdown and school closures, lack of childcare is likely to be one of the worst affected services available to families. This paper paints a picture of current progress towards ensuring that all families have access to affordable and high-quality childcare, and considers the implications of the current COVID-19 crisis for childcare globally. We show how governments and employers can help parents to address the global childcare crisis through paid parental leave, followed by accessible, affordable and high-quality childcare.
Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19
Working Paper Working Paper

Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19

This rapid review collates and synthesizes evidence on the child protection impacts of COVID-19 and previous pandemics, epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks. It provides lessons for global and national responses to COVID19 and recommendations for future research priorities.
COVID-19 may pose greater risk to children than originally thought
Research Brief Research Brief

COVID-19 may pose greater risk to children than originally thought

(21 July 2020) It is commonly accepted, at least for now, that children and young people under 20 years of age have largely been spared the direct epidemiological effects on their own health and survival of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), responsible for COVID-19 disease. This narrative is based predominantly on early data from the countries first affected by the virus, notably China (Wuhan province) and Italy in early 2020, and also from other high-income countries (HICs) including the United States and some European nations. This narrative has conditioned the subsequent screening and testing for SARS-CoV-2 virus in children and young people under 20, which have been notably lower than for other age cohorts in many, but not all, countries.
Digital Connectivity During COVID-19: Access to vital information for every child
Publication Publication

Digital Connectivity During COVID-19: Access to vital information for every child

(10 June 2020) This research brief explores data from 22,000 12-15 year old's to answer three research questions. 1) How much do we know about children’s basic access to the internet across the globe? 2) Do children regularly use the internet to access health information? 3) Are children able to verify the truth of online information?
Ethical Issues: Digital contact tracing and surveillance during COVID-19
Working Paper Working Paper

Ethical Issues: Digital contact tracing and surveillance during COVID-19

Balancing the need to collect data to support good decision-making versus the need to protect children from harm created through the collection of the data has never been more challenging than in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the pandemic has seen an unprecedented rapid scaling up of technologies to support digital contact tracing and surveillance. As the pandemic progresses, we are also likely to see the emergence of more applications that link datasets as we seek to better understand the secondary impacts of the pandemic on children and their families.

Blogs & Think Pieces

Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence
Blog Blog

Protecting children from harm during COVID-19 needs evidence

Although much of the world is focused on the “silver lining” that COVID-19 does not appear to severely impact children’s health, UNICEF is raising the alarm about the potential damage of the hidden impacts on children’s health as well as the indirect socio-economic effects of the fallout from the pandemic. In response, UNICEF Innocenti is generating evidence to assist and inform UNICEF’s COVID-19 work. This blog is about a research conducted by UNICEF on the impacts of pandemics and epidemics on child protection, including topics such as violence against children, child labour and child marriage.
How sport can help keep children engaged during COVID-19: Innovations by South African S4D organizations
Blog Blog

How sport can help keep children engaged during COVID-19: Innovations by South African S4D organizations

This blog is part two of a series highlighting innovative responses to COVID-19 from S4D organizations. UNICEF Innocenti is conducting research on S4D in collaboration with the UNICEF- FCB and Barça Foundation partnership. The first blog in the series discussed innovative responses S4D organizations have taken globally to adapt to the crisis. In this blog, we focus on one country, South Africa – which sets itself apart as a lower-middle income country with the highest number of S4D organizations. This blog explores the challenges faced in South Africa’s unique contexts and different responses to them.
5 Questions on Research on Violence against Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Article Article

5 Questions on Research on Violence against Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

A new publication produced jointly by UNICEF Innocenti and UNICEF Data and Analytics provides guidance on ethical data collection and research on violence against children in the context of COVID-19 and beyond. We sat down (virtually) with one of UNICEF Innocenti’s researchers involved in producing this research guidance, Alessandra Guedes, Gender and Development Research Manager, to discuss what this publication is about, why it has been produced and what the key messages from the publication are.
Are we at risk of making the same errors we made at the beginning of the HIV and AIDS pandemic?
Blog Blog

Are we at risk of making the same errors we made at the beginning of the HIV and AIDS pandemic?

(21 July 2020) Like polio before it, unless we continue to monitor its socio-demographic spread, COVID-19 may start out being a disease that first affects more affluent communities and countries but could end up lasting longest and deepest among the world’s poorest countries and communities. In the HIV crisis, age-disaggregated data appeared long after the aggregate numbers or even the sex-disaggregated, leaving child prevention, detection and treatment lagging well behind that of adults.
Spain’s Basic Income Response to COVID-19
Blog Blog

Spain’s Basic Income Response to COVID-19

(1 July 2020) Spain has been hard hit by Covid-19, both in terms of high death toll and worsening economic conditions. Government lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus left millions of households without earnings or temporary unemployed. A recent report anticipates a 13% decline in GDP in the worst-case scenario. This is a worrying prediction for a country characterised by high unemployment and high levels of extreme poverty, even before the crisis. But from this adversity comes an opportunity.
Digging deeper with data: Child labour and learning
Blog Blog

Digging deeper with data: Child labour and learning

Noah Oletey, aged 12, and his brother Vincent, aged 14, work six nights a week on fishing canoes on Lake Volta in Ghana. Noah and Vincent attend school, but only when their work schedule permits it and they have enough money to pay their school fees. As such, their educational opportunities are limited, and their performance at school suffers. The story of Noah and Vincent shows that engaging in child labour can be negatively associated with school attendance and the acquisition of vital foundational learning skills.

In order to speed research and knowledge outputs and commentary into the public sphere the Evidence For Action blogs of UNICEF Connect and UNICEF Innocenti Think Pieces will be published on a continual basis. Both UNICEF Innocenti experts and leading external researchers and writers will frequently publish on these fora. The aim is to feed research commentary into global pandemic discussion and planning efforts for children.

Online events

Webinar: Children Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Event Event

Webinar: Children Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On 6 May 2020 UNICEF Innocenti hosted the first Leading Minds Online event introducing a new series on Coronavirus and Children: What the Experts Say. Our first event featured Harvard University's professor of global health, Dr Vikram Patel; UNICEF Innocenti lead researcher on child internet use, Daniel Kardefelt-Winther, and other Leading Minds from the US, Pakistan and South Africa.
Webinar: Violence in the home before, during and after COVID-19
Event Event

Webinar: Violence in the home before, during and after COVID-19

On Thursday 21 May at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti hosted the second Leading Minds Online webinar series: "What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children: Violence in the Home”. The ewebinar looks at why some of the measures taken to contain the Coronavirus could be magnifying the risk factors for violence against children and women - What can be done to prevent violence against children and women and support survivors now and post-COVID 19?
Webinar: Support for Families during COVID-19
Event Event

Webinar: Support for Families during COVID-19

On Thursday 4 June at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti launches the third installment of the Leading Minds Online webinar series ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children: Support for Families.
Webinar: Remote Learning & Beyond #COVID19
Event Event

Webinar: Remote Learning & Beyond #COVID19

On Thursday 18 June at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presented its fourth Leading Minds Online webcast series ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children: Remote Learning and Beyond’. A panel of high-level experts looked at how the global pandemic and resulting school closures are worsening learning gaps, and deepening the learning crisis.
Webinar: Hand Hygiene for every child during and after COVID-19
Event Event

Webinar: Hand Hygiene for every child during and after COVID-19

On Thursday 2 July at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presents its fifth Leading Minds Online webcast ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children' on Hand Hygiene.
Webinar: COVID-19 and economic impact on children
Event Event

Webinar: COVID-19 and economic impact on children

On Thursday 17 September at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presented its sixth Leading Minds Online webcast ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children' on Economic Impact.
Webinar: COVID-19 and Child Health
Event Event

Webinar: COVID-19 and Child Health

On Thursday 1 October at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presented its seventh Leading Minds Online webcast ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children' on Child Health.
Webinar: COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis
Event Event

Webinar: COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis

Has COVID changed Climate Change? Can children who’ve left the least damage on the planet now make the biggest difference? Join us on Leading Minds Online as we ask the experts. On Thursday 22 October at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti presents its eighth Leading Minds Online webinar ‘What the Experts Say - Coronavirus and Children' on COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis.
Webinar: COVID-19, the Infodemic and Fake News
Event Event

Webinar: COVID-19, the Infodemic and Fake News

(12 November 2020) The infodemic that has spread at the same rate as the COVID pandemic has brought this into sharp relief. Why now, why has this exploded in 2020 with data being exploited at an unprecedented level? How can children and young people develop the ability to decipher disinformation and misinformation?

Research Library

 

UNICEF Innocenti has produced the Children and COVID-19 Research Library to highlight the available global scientific research and evidence on children and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Children and COVID-19 Library is a searchable database of research from the most reputable sources around the world on the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on children and adolescents. It is one of the most advanced publicly accessible databases of research on COVID-19 and children available.

 

Explore the Library.

 

Watch our FAQ.

 

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CONTACT
UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti
research[at]unicef.org
via degli Alfani, 58 - 50121 Florence, Italy
T : (39055) 20330 F : (39055) 2033220