Have you ever wondered about how a child’s perspective of the Covid-19 lockdown has really been? Twelve-year old Soha (“I’m turning 13!”) talks to us about her experience, including her advice on how schools and parents could help kids more.
When did the coronavirus situation first come to your attention?
The coronavirus first came to my attention when the schools all started closing and events started being cancelled. Of course I knew it was ‘a thing’ before that, but I really didn’t think it would get this serious and I thought it would pass in a few weeks.
What do you understand about the “Covid-19” virus?
I understand that it’s a respiratory illness that started in China when bats were being eaten. It’s now become a global pandemic and it’s resulted in several lockdowns…and just a lot of chaos.
Does it scare you? Why?
It doesn’t really scare me because the illness is really only for the very elderly with already existing illnesses, or really young people. If you have a high immune system, it shouldn’t really be a big problem and as long as we just stay quarantined in our own houses, it should be alright and will pass over the summer because the heat in Dubai will kill it. So, no it doesn’t scare me.
What were the first signs that you were directly affected?
It was when school was going to be cancelled for two weeks, and after this, they announced ‘online school’ and I knew that we weren’t going to be coming back to school for a very long time. I realised if they have to close schools for this long – the entire rest of the school year, then it was going to be extremely serious.
How did the situation affect your school work, education and home life?
I’m a very social person and being with my friends is something that I do all the time and this really affected it greatly. Online school was extremely difficult because the amount of work had almost doubled and there was just a lot to be done. Getting used to things was also very difficult – life in general and not being able to go out. And if you do go out, you have to wear a mask and gloves, which is extremely strange for me. Eventually I got used to it, but in the beginning it was quite difficult… and boring. I remember it was making me very sad and very angry that I could not see anyone.
How did you feel when the lockdown measures were introduced and you were no longer allowed to go outside?
I felt like the measures were quite extreme, but also necessary. We weren’t allowed to go outside, or without passes, which was also quite strange for me because I didn’t think it was that much of an issue as long as you were far away from everyone else.
How did you use all the time you suddenly had?
I used this time to reflect on what I wanted to do when I go back to school and what I really want to do with my own sports and my own life. When I go back, I’m super-motivated and ready for anything to come. I have been working out at home and doing lots of art and working on myself and my studies.
How are you feeling now that lots of the restrictions are removed?
My friends do come to my house now and it’s relieving to know things are calming down because restrictions are being removed and everything is trying to calm down now.
What do you think your school should do from now on to keep the kids safe?
I think they should keep more hand sanitisers around the school and generally just educate us more about this subject. It’s really important that we do know the precautions that need to be taken to benefit our own safety.
If you could make one rule for parents to follow to make the situation easier for their kids, what would it be?!
I suggest you just give us time and educate us as much as possible, because as much as this is strange for you, it’s strange for us as well not being able to see our friends because friends are a big part of our life. I think all parents should just understand that if we’re mad and acting out, it’s probably because we don’t see our friends and it’s quite frustrating at times.
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