#COVID19

COVID-19 & Children

Rapid Research Response

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Introduction

Children, despite being less affected by the virus itself, are bearing a disproportionate burden of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have been closed for months, impacting not just children’s education, but also their nutrition, growth, social development, and protection. Containment measures have increased levels of violence in the home. Social protection responses often fail to cater for the needs of children and their families. Compounding this is the regression of developments made in recent decades and the halting of progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In response to this unprecedented crisis for children, UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response to provide the evidence needed to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies, and prepare interventions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Research publications

Research publications

Mind Matters
Report Report

Mind Matters

While the evidence base is still nascent, this report looks at the impacts of disasters and past epidemics – such as Ebola, HIV, SARS/MERS and Zika – on child and adolescent mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and examines how these insights can guide policies and progammes to support children, their families and communities during the current pandemic.
Mind Matters
Report Report

Mind Matters

While the evidence base is still nascent, this report looks at the impacts of disasters and past epidemics – such as Ebola, HIV, SARS/MERS and Zika – on child and adolescent mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and examines how these insights can guide policies and progammes to support children, their families and communities during the current pandemic.
It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning
Research Brief Research Brief

It’s Not Too Late to Act on Early Learning

This paper presents a new estimate that pre-primary school closures in 2020 may cost today’s young children US$1.6 trillion in lost earnings over their lifetimes. Children in middle-income countries will be most greatly affected. However, most low- and middle- income countries are leaving pre-primary education out of their responses to COVID-19. This paper also draws lessons from evaluations of accelerated, bridging and remedial programmes on how introducing or expanding these transition programmes in the early years can mitigate the long-term impact on learning from pre-primary school closures.
Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19
Research Brief Research Brief

Continuing learning for the most vulnerable during COVID-19

This brief draws on the experience of five UNICEF education country programmes supported by the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative, to document tangible lessons in adapting education programmes to support the most marginalized children during school and learning centre closures.
COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis
Report Report

COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children. This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19.
Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19
Report Report

Lifting Barriers to Education During and After COVID-19

Across Latin America and the Caribbean, since November 2020, 137 million girls and boys are missing out on their education due to the prolonged closure of schools during COVID-19. The implications are troubling, especially for migrant and refugee children, for whom access to inclusive and equitable education remains a major challenge.
COVID-19 Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Working Paper Working Paper

COVID-19 Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

Since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries. The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally.
Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during COVID
Report Report

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during COVID

(10 February 2021) This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy. It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future.

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 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

 

 

Ethics and Evidence Synthesis

Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018–2021: Covid-19 Special Evidence Brief
Article Article

Evidence and Gap Map Research Brief UNICEF Strategic Plan 2018–2021: Covid-19 Special Evidence Brief

This research brief is an addition to a series of five briefs, which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell-UNICEF Mega-Map of the effectiveness of interventions to improve child well-being in low- and middle-income countries.
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.
Ethical Considerations for Evidence Generation Involving Children on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Discussion Paper Discussion Paper

Ethical Considerations for Evidence Generation Involving Children on the COVID-19 Pandemic

This paper identifies key ethical considerations when undertaking evidence generation involving children during the mitigation stage of the pandemic (emergency phase), on subject matter relating to COVID-19 once the pandemic has been contained, and once containment policy measures, including lockdowns, have been lifted (post-emergency phase). While the COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a global crisis, with evidence generation activities raising critical ethical issues that have been captured in the literature and relevant guidelines, there are specificities relating to this emergency that must be considered when unpacking potential ethical issues.
The Evolving Epidemiologic and Clinical Picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Disease in Children and Young People
Working Paper Working Paper

The Evolving Epidemiologic and Clinical Picture of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Disease in Children and Young People

The initial impression that paediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon and generally mild has been replaced by a more nuanced understanding of infectious manifestations in children and adolescents across low-, middle-, and high-income countries and by demographic structure, with recognition of a widening disease spectrum. Critical knowledge gaps, especially in low- and middle-income countries remain, that have significant public policy and programme implications. Insufficient data disaggregated by age, geography and race/ethnicity are hindering efforts to fully assess prevalence of infection and disease in children and adolescents and their role in transmission.
Does COVID-19 Affect the Health of Children and Young People More Than We Thought?
Research Brief Research Brief

Does COVID-19 Affect the Health of Children and Young People More Than We Thought?

Contrary to the current narrative, the risks of COVID-19 disease in children and young people depend largely on where individuals live and how vulnerable they are to disease and ill health.
Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection
Working Paper Working Paper

Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection

(21 July 2020) There are various pathways through which infectious disease outbreaks can exacerbate vulnerabilities, generate new risks and result in negative outcomes for children. 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.

Blogs & Think Pieces

Why we can’t afford to let early childhood education fall through the COVID-19 cracks
Blog Blog

Why we can’t afford to let early childhood education fall through the COVID-19 cracks

A few weeks ago, after his last day at kindergarten, my son wanted to show me his portfolio. Marveling at the delightful collection of drawings, crafts, photos and teacher notes, I couldn’t believe how lucky we are that he got to experience a full year of kindergarten, in spite of COVID-19.
How to co-create research during a global pandemic
Blog Blog

How to co-create research during a global pandemic

Even in the most difficult settings, some schools excel in learning, champion gender equality, and have low drop-out rates. These “positive deviant” schools provide valuable lessons on how to improve similar but less performing schools. Through the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research, UNICEF and partners identify effective behaviours and practices in positive deviant schools and investigate how these can be rolled out to other schools. The research is one of three components of the global DMS initiative, which aims to improve learning through better data access, analysis, and use. In this way, education systems are optimised using data and evidence, no matter the context. But to do so requires the involvement of all stakeholders—from the Education Minister through to school teachers and students.
Safeguarding and sport for development during and after the pandemic
Blog Blog

Safeguarding and sport for development during and after the pandemic

Sport for Development (S4D) organisations have adapted their programming to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis through continued support including remote learning, providing health information, and supporting their staff to support other programs. In this blog we explore the new risks and challenges raised by the crisis and how organisations can use this time to make sure the return to play is safer than ever.
How will COVID-19 disrupt child well-being in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia?
Blog Blog

How will COVID-19 disrupt child well-being in Southern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia?

The story of the COVID-19 pandemic is one of vulnerability, in which those with pre-existing deprivations are likely to suffer most. While the full range of economic and social consequences of the crisis are yet to emerge, it will undoubtedly affect many children, by exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and their underling conditions
Making sure the most vulnerable children are heard during COVID-19: 5 lessons on data collection from Somalia
Blog Blog

Making sure the most vulnerable children are heard during COVID-19: 5 lessons on data collection from Somalia

While COVID-19 has presented new risks and challenges for collecting information, children’s voices must continue to be heard when developing policies and programmes that impact their lives. In recognition of this, UNICEF Somalia designed and conducted a study, with technical support from the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and funding from the UK government, to capture the experiences of some of the most vulnerable children living in Puntland and Somaliland during the current pandemic. 1,090 children (aged 10-18 years) were interviewed between 5th and 21st July 2020. This included children living on the streets, those affected by migration, and those living alone with no family. All the data collected was disaggregated by key factors such as gender and age group to provide additional insights.
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.

Online events

Webinar: COVID-19 and Child Labour
Event Event

Webinar: COVID-19 and Child Labour

(24 June 2021) Until recently, the outlook for finally ending child labour was promising, owing in part to progress in expanding education, targeted social protection and robust global growth. But in the last four years, global progress has stalled. In fact, the absolute number of children engaged in child labour has increased for the first time in two decades—an estimated and staggering 160 million children in 2020 according to new global estimates released by ILO and UNICEF.
Webinar: Vaccines: Doses, Distribution and Bridging the Great Divide
Event Event

Webinar: Vaccines: Doses, Distribution and Bridging the Great Divide

(28 April 2021) The COVID-19 vaccine has been a scientific triumph. But how can we achieve vaccine equity? Leading Minds asks the experts.
Webinar: COVID and the Looming Debt Crisis
Event Event

Webinar: COVID and the Looming Debt Crisis

(1 April 2021) Even before the pandemic 1 in 8 countries spent more on debt than on education, health and social spending combined. Leading Minds asks how we stop mortgaging children’s futures?
Webinar: Special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa
Event Event

Webinar: Special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa

(3 December 2020) It was expected to be the worst hit, but instead Africa is gaining praise for being amongst the best and waging an effective campaign against the COVID pandemic. The youngest continent on earth, with the average age just 18 years old, sub-Saharan Africa has experienced only a fraction of the death toll elsewhere in the world.
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?
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.

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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