Predicting the spread of COVID is based on surveys with adults on the whole. We set out to examine the number of contacts young people report, how accurately they feel self-report is and how they feel about the measures used to prevent the spread of COVID.
The first 300 young people asked (60% below age 16 and 40% over age 16) reported nearly 25% had 2+ face to face direct contacts a day (75% had fewer). But over half reported less than 1 contact. Young people with the most contacts were in school and those with the least contacts were in University. Nearly 60% of University students feedback that they had no contact with anyone at all the previous day.
Of those reporting direct contact with 2+ others, over 80% reported wearing a mask. Of all the young people asked 6/10 felt they could accurately recall who they met.
THE IMPACT OF COVID
Three-quarters of young people felt COVID had impacted their mental health.
The health of family and friends was noted as a concern;
“…I am very worried about my loved ones getting corona and becoming seriously ill or dying.” (Uni Student)
“My cousin died of cancer aged 29 and we were unable to see him in his last weeks” (Year 13 Pupil)
As well as the lack of their support due to isolation;
“It has been lonelier I can’t see my friends family my loved ones and the stress of trying to follow all the rules and restrictions is hard…” (Year 10 Pupil)
There was also mental health issues around education, exam pressure and related stresses and worries.
Over 50% reported they felt COVID had significantly impacted their education;
“I don’t feel like I’m learning.” (Uni Student)
“I have to teach myself and so i don’t really know if i did it right.” (Year 11 Pupil)
The difference in support from face-to-face and online teaching was a common theme with young people not feeling like they were progressing.
The majority of young people in school wanted to “cancel the exams in 2021” as this would take away some uncertainty and give some clarity about the future.
The majority of young people in university wanted more financial support and lower fees;
“I was worried about being able to fund myself and their advice was take out a loan. Which is irresponsible”. (Uni Student)
It is unsurprising, given the findings above, that most young people reported feeling less happy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although some report feeling happier:
“I have had time to relax in lockdown.” (Year 12 Pupil)
And 32% did not feel their life opportunities would be affected.
Young people also felt they hadn’t been included in decisions and conversations around how covid will affect them, they want more opportunity to feed into these discussions:
“We have a voice and want to protect ourselves, but are told we are not allowed to cover our faces in school classrooms. ” (Year 8 Pupil)
“…the government could listen to us for once” (Year 8 Pupil)
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