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Covid 19 information for children
Covid 19: One year on
Covid 19 has changed all of our lives. Nobody knew one year ago what was ahead of us. It has been a very difficult time, especially for children and young people.The Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon said:
"What a year it has been for young people! On 12th March 2020 students were told that they wouldn’t be coming back to school on Monday. From that time until March 2021 many children only had 80 days in the classroom. Our children have not been found wanting in the fight against Covid 19. They have been heroic in their efforts to remain upbeat and engaged around their education.
Now it is time to plan for children’s futures, to be ambitious and to create a better normal for some of the most vulnerable.”
Our Life in Lockdown report
The Covid 19 Pandemic affected all children but for children living in Direct Provision it was especially difficult. In 2020, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office spoke to children and young people living in Direct Provision accommodation about their experiences and what life was like for them during the first lockdown.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a virus that is spreading across the world and causing a lot of people to be very sick. We have all had a cold or a flu before, that is a virus and although we may feel very sick our bodies know what the flu is and we can fight it. Because COVID-19 is new our bodies don’t have the proper tools to fight it so it is more dangerous. This is why we now have a vaccine. Ireland began to its vaccination roll-out in January 2021.
What happens when you have COVID-19?
Mostly, it makes people cough, feel tired and have a fever. Anyone can get COVID-19 but it is much worse for older people like our parents or grandparents, and it can be very dangerous for people who already have an illness, people who have asthma, those recovering from cancer or lots of other problems. It is really important that we stop the spread of the virus to protect everybody.
How to know if you have COVID-19?
If you feel sick, tell your parents or guardian and they will call your doctor. If your doctor thinks you need a test they will put you on the list. When you get your test, the person carrying it out will take a sample from your nose and throat with a cotton bud. They will be all covered up, wearing protective clothes to make sure they don’t get the virus and pass it on. You will get your result in a few days.
If you think you have COVID-19…
Even before you get a test or know for sure that you have Coronavirus, if you have a temperature or a cough, you should self-isolate – this means that you need to stay at home and not mix with other people.
The COVID-19 vaccine
In January 2021, Ireland began its vaccination roll out programme. This will help us return to life as normal and allows our bodies to fight the virus and stop the spread of COVID-19. More information on the vaccine and the groups that are in line to be vaccinated can be found here: https://www2.hse.ie/screening-and-vaccinations/covid-19-vaccine/rollout-covid-19-vaccines-ireland.html
How to stop the spread of COVID-19?
Following government guidelines is really important. More information on the restrictions and what falls under each level can be found here:
How you can help
Stop the spread of germs that make people sick by following this advice.
Bored at home
Because we can’t see our friends and family as much as we want, it’s important to get outside and to exercise if you can – but make sure you follow the guidelines. Also talk to your parents or guardian about how you are feeling, they are probably bored too. This time won’t last forever so we all have to do our best.
Miss your friends
Thankfully there are lots of ways to connect with your friends online or via social media. If you have permission from your parents you can check in with your friends every day and find out how they are getting along.
If you are finding all of this worrying or stressful
It is OK to feel worried or stressed. If you are worried you should talk to your parents, an adult or a friend. There is also lots of information on the internet and people you can talk to. Here are some links that might be useful:
- Childline: Worried about the Coronavirus? (Covid-19)
- Samaritans: If you're worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
- HSE: Minding your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
- AsIAm.ie: Maintaining Calmness about Covid-19/Corona Virus in the Autism Community
For all of the main information on Coronavirus visit www.hse.ie
For news and information here are some good websites:
- The Irish Times
- Irish Examiner
- TRTÉ news2day
- Today FM
- Virgin Media Television: News
The ultimate list of free educational resources for parents
Click here for a concise list by The Irish Examiner who asked primary school teachers for their top recommendations of additional resources parents can use to help teach their children.
More information about Covid 19 for young people:
There is some really good information out there to help children and young people understand everything that is going on at the moment. We have put together a list of some of the best sites and we’ll keep adding to it:
- Coronavirus information from the Department of Education and Skills
- The Children's Commissioner in Wales has put together some good information
The Ombudsman for Children’s Office has created a range of resources to help children and young people learn about their rights. There are lots of activities to keep you busy and lots to learn.
Visit Its Your Right to find out more.
You can create a play based on rights (PDF)
We have also developed education materials for parents and teachers to explore issues relating to children’s rights in Ireland with children and young people.