HOW ARE CHILDREN DEALING WITH THE PANDEMIC?
We have read a lot about COVID-19 and its effects on to adults, but have we taken a moment to assess the COVID-19 impact on children?
Children are not the face of this pandemic but are currently its biggest victims. We must acknowledge that emotionally, mentally, children have been affected in ways that may not seem clearer to our own comprehension.
Initially, most COVID-19 deaths did occur amongst adults, not children, attention has been focused, understandably, on adults. However, a tragic consequence of high numbers of adult deaths is that high numbers of children have lost their parents and caregivers to COVID-19, henceforth facing adverse consequences.
Globally, from March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, an estimate 95% children experienced the death of primary caregivers, including at least one parent or custodial grandparent.
Another post COVID effect onto the children shows that at least one in three of the world’s 463 million schoolchildren were unable to access remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered their schools.
Research from UNICEF shows that 188 countries imposed countrywide school closures during the pandemic, affecting more than 1.6 billion children and youth, hitting schoolchildren in poorer countries particularly hard.
Other developing countries have had to wait until all teachers in the country are vaccinated so that they are able to reopen schools. With a fair estimate that could take an extra 6 to 12 months.
Schoolchildren in the poorest countries have already lost nearly more than 12 months of schooling since the start of the pandemic, compared to those in high-income countries, depending on a parents income levels to afford online education.
These short disruptions in a child’s education tend to leave huge effect onto the child. From losing the concentration and curiosity to learn, to increase in child marriage and child labor which usually prevents children from continuing their education.
Not forgetting that recent news feeds in the US showed that nearly 94000 children have since tested for COVID 19, which is 15% of all the new cases discovered in the US as of early August.
These are tough unforeseeable times; we hope that life will eventually normalize, and children will have fair and free access to education in different communities.