Parent information regarding 2020 research study in select APPLE schools

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Dear parents,

Your child’s school is an APPLE school, which promotes healthy eating, active living and well-being. As part of your school’s commitment to APPLE Schools, your school will participate in research to establish benefits of adding a healthy focus to the school culture. We will also study how the closure of school buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic affected the well-being and behaviours of students.

We invite you and your child to take part in this study.

The aims of this study are to find out:

  • what students are eating, how active they are, how well they sleep, and how they feel overall, as well as during that time when school buildings were closed.
  • what parents think about eating healthy, being active and supporting good mental health at school and at home.
  • what helps students and parents/guardians to feel better and keep up healthy daily routines.

How you can take part:

Parents/guardian(s) can take part in this project by filling out the Home Survey. This will take about 10 minutes.

How your child can take part:

All children are invited to participate in this study. However, if you DO NOT want your child to participate, please 1) email the research coordinator at dabravol@ualberta.ca OR 2) fill out the opt-out form in the next week. If we do not receive this form, we will assume that your child can participate in this study. Your child will also be asked by his/her teacher whether they would like to participate. If they choose not to participate it will not affect their grades in any way. If your child does not participate, this will not affect his/her grades in any way.

Taking part may take up to 60 minutes of class time. By taking part, your child will not miss out on any classroom lessons. If your child takes part in this project, we will ask them to fill out an online survey during school time. Research assistants will guide students through the survey and will answer their questions via video conferencing software (e.g., Google Meet, Zoom). Your child’s teacher will be in class at all times.

Benefits: Results of this survey will be shared with the school principal. This report won’t include your name or your child’s name. All names and answers are kept private. The school report will help the principal and APPLE Schools make new plans to improve lifestyle and well-being of students over the next years. You or your child may not benefit directly from taking part in the survey.

How researchers will use this information: Students in other APPLE Schools are also being asked to take part in this project. Study findings will be used by researchers in presentations and publications. Given that this research study also collects valuable information about children’s lifestyle and mental well-being during the pandemic, the results of this study can help prepare society better for any next pandemic and other natural disasters that lead to evacuations and closure of schools.

Risks: It is not expected that taking part in this study will harm you or your child in any way. Teachers and research assistants will be trained to identify students who may appear distressed during the survey. Surveys will include information about provincial support resources and the Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) in the unlikely event a student gets distressed.

Confidentiality: All information will be kept private. Data extracted from the online surveys, and opt-out forms will be stored on a secure university research drive, in a locked server rooms with card-restricted access at the University of Alberta. The data will be stored a minimum of five years. All identifying information will be deleted before data analysis.

Approval: The plan for this study has been reviewed for its adherence to ethical guidelines by a Research Ethics Board at the University of Alberta and has been approved by the school board and the school principal. For questions regarding participant rights and ethical conduct of research, contact the Research Ethics Office at (780) 492-2615.

Thank you for taking the time to review this information. If you would like to know more or have questions, please contact (preferably, by email) Julia Dabravolskaj (Research Coordinator) at dabravol@ualberta.ca, or (780) 248-2076.