COVID-19 & Children

Rapid Research Response

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Children in Laos taking part in the ChildFund Pass It Back program.


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

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  • Identifying good practices for equitable remote learning during COVID-19 school closures
    Analysis of promising remote learning practices during school closures and effects on the most vulnerable children. Builds on data collected from country offices and other sources.
  • Parental engagement in children’s learning: Insights for remote learning response during COVID-19
    Analysis of MICS 6 data on the potential of child-oriented books at home and the parental role for learning, especially where low access to technology.
  • Social protection for families and children: considerations for a post COVID-19 response Comparative research on expected social protection changes in different regions from efforts to protect children from health and financial impacts.
  • The importance of children's internet access during COVID-19
    Analysis of new data from Global Kids Online and EU Kids Online networks on children accessing health information online, and child ability to verify the truth of online information.
  • Estimating the impact of COVID-19 on violence prevalence
    Three data sources will be analyzed to estimate the impact of COVID-19 on the prevalence of violence: big data and social media; helpline data; existing nationally representative data sets (MICS, DHS).
  • COVID-19 & school closures: impacts on child wellbeing
    A variety of data sources will be analysed to measure impacts of school closures on multiple dimensions of child well-being on vulnerable groups, including schooling, learning outcomes, health, nutrition, mental wellbeing, violence, early marriage, child labour, and others.
  • COVID-19 & school reopenings: strategies and measures for mitigating the impact of COVID-19
    This research will describe the strategies that countries are putting in place to mitigate the negative impacts of school closures on children’s learning outcomes, particularly on the most vulnerable groups.



  • 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)



  • Pandemics and child protection, a rapid review
    A review of literature to support evidence needs for COVID-19 child protection response.
  • Epidemiology of COVID-19 among children and adolescents
    Review of evidence on child and adolescent epidemiological patterns/health outcomes and interactions with other co-morbidities and vulnerabilities.
  • 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 (expected mid-July 2020)
    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.





Download Our Full Research Agenda - Living Document


Download Our short summary Agenda

Research publications

Blogs & Think Pieces

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

Good reads

A wide variety of research - rapid reviews, preprint papers, expert commentary and peer reviewed reports - is being released on a daily basis in an effort to rapidly build knowledge and evidence about how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. UNICEF Innocenti will continually update this space with a selection of the best and latest contributions that are relevant to COVID-19's impact on children. Research writings presented here may not be endorsed by UNICEF.


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UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti
via degli Alfani, 58 - 50121 Florence, Italy
T : (39055) 20330 F : (39055) 2033220