Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on school children

Shan Basnet
Many countries across the globe have decided to close schools when the Covid-19 virus started to spread. The schools have been closed as a part of a social distancing policy in order to contain the spread of deadly Corona virus. The closure of schools has affected the education of more than 1.5 billion children and youth worldwide to the Corona virus pandemic.
The children have been deprived of learning for nearly three months. Many countries have started lifting lockdown but schools are unlikely to open until the situation gets better. The children have missed their schools, peers, physical playing, real classroom learning, teachers, lunch and shared tiffins in the lunch break. School serves a platform for children for socialising, taking part in activities, sharing feelings with friends, playing games and learning. Research shows that children are worried about their education. They are found helpless, lonely and bored. Their minds are in stress.
Doctors say continuous confinement for three to five months with almost nil physical activity has made life stressful for everyone and children have been hit the hardest. There could be a lasting impact on children’s physical as well as mental well being , doctors warn.
The United Nations Children Fund has warned,’’Not only are children and young people contracting covid-19, they are also among the most severe impacted victims. Unless we act now to address the pandemic’s effect on children, the echoes of covid-19 will permanently damage our shared future”.
The children are at home. They are not allowed to go out and mix up with others. Those who have ascess to mobile phones, computer and internet are always found attached with online and offline games. They have developed certain characteristics due to this over exposure on screen. They lack concentrations, become more annoying and don’t listen to what they are asked.
Some schools have started online classes for the students. These are schools which are renowned and they represent the private sector. These online classes have widened the learning gap between children of lower income and higher income families. Only a few urban elite families can afford internet and technology for online classes. Those parents who can afford are increasingly turning to online education to make their kids learning at home.
The closure of schools have led to cancellation of different examinations of students. The students are much worried about their examinations. They don’t know when their exams would be held. Even the governments are uncertain whether they would be promoted to another level taking into account their internal performances or their exams would be conducted in due course of time.
The shut down of schools has had far reaching impact on the health and well being of children, especially those children who are enrolled in government or community schools and entitled to free lunch or snacks at schools. Due to coronavirus, many parents have lost their source of income. Therefore, they have failed to feed nutritious food to their children.
Fortunately, children are less commonly affected. Out of the total cases with corona virus only two percent are children. The parents of those children who are working in frontline like doctors, nurses, security personnel, media persons suffer most. Their parents are prone to infect from the virus and the children are much worried about their parents.
The children whose parents are infected with coronavirus are neglected. They don’t get adequate fooding and care as the attention has been diverted to the covid-19 patient and many children have lost their parents and grand parents and their loved ones because of this deadly virus. The impact of the death of loved ones hinders them concentrating on their studies.
Experts advise parents to engage their wards in virtual/online classes, indoor activites, talk to them , employ them in the kitchen and kitchen garden and make them comfortable to minimize the impact of confinement and help them to come out of these severe impacts of covid-19 lockdown.
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