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Aims: At this study we aimed at exploring the psychological impact of educational process disturbance upon the COVID-19 pandemic on the parents and primary school students in the Gaza Strip in order to provide the decision-makers with systematic results that can form a base for short- and long-term plans related to improving the mental health of the population of Gaza.
Study Design: This study was an explorative qualitative study.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was conducted in the Gaza Strip between July and September 2020.
Methodology: we conducted 30 individual semi-structured interviews with (18 women, 12 men; age range 27- 50) from the five governorates of the Gaza Strip. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed by the content thematic analysis using MAXQDA software to find out the common themes and codes.
Results: Our findings showed that the mental health of the parents was significantly affected due to the fear of catching the infection, the quarantine, the burden of distance learning, and the social disruption. They reported symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, fear and loneliness. Moreover, the mental health of the children was impacted negatively as they showed different behavioral, psychological, and social problems that stemmed from the fear of the pandemic, the fear of the protective measures, the closure of schools, the unexpected alternative educational methods, the quarantine and lack of outdoor activities.
Conclusion: The mental health of both parents and children was negatively affected due to the educational process disturbance upon COVID-19 pandemic in the Gaza Strip, as a result, they need systematic programs that are directed towards improving the mental health and enhancing the mature coping mechanisms in order to overcome the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of the combined effects of the Israeli occupation and the siege.
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