Secondary/High School Content

Activity 2: Coronavirus pandemic

Key Questions

Click the arrow to expand each one or click here to expand all of the answers below:

What was the impact of the pandemic for this person (and many others)?

Examples might be feeling angry or upset for missing out on time with their Dad, worrying about Dad being on his own without visitors, feeling that they couldn’t do anything to help. It might have been hard to see only a few people at Dad’s funeral and unable to connect with other family members or friends. The young person may have felt a sense of responsibility to take care of any siblings or support a grieving parent, particularly because no one else would have been able to come to their house to help.

How did the pandemic make things more difficult?

Difficulties of the pandemic such as being separated from friends; being in lockdown from school or other extra curricular activities; stuck with grieving relatives; feeling that there was no one to help or share the load; worrying about other family members; no opportunity to meet up with people who knew dad to share stories, etc.

Do you know anyone who has been bereaved during the pandemic?

Use small pieces of paper and ask pupils to write names of people they know who have been affected by the pandemic, or who died during the pandemic. These could be posted into a box, jar, bottle etc.

How did it feel to hear daily death statistics throughout the pandemic?

Consider bereavements, death statistics, news stories on TV and social media, anxieties, impact on their lives, hearing stories of others, thinking about death, worrying about themselves or others.

Who has helped during the pandemic?

This could be individuals or organisations they have received help from directly or it could be the wider context of health care/NHS, teachers and school staff, supermarkets, distributors, scientists/vaccine developers, emergency services, as well as friends, family members etc.

Allow some time to discuss any experiences of the pandemic which they might want to share with each other, reminding them to only share if they wish to.

Have there been any stories during the pandemic which have inspired you?

This could be communities supporting those in need, fundraising, NHS workers, people doing amazing things in adverse conditions. (Captain Tom)

Reflection and Support

Remind all pupils that emotional reactions are normal and may be experienced at any time. Signpost to how pupils can access support through school and other organisations.

Take a few moments to relax, recognising that many people have felt stressed at times during the pandemic. Use some relaxation techniques, possibly with some calming music. This could be slow breathing – in for a count of 4, out for 4, building up to a count of 7. Sitting comfortably, they could close their eyes and gradually tense and relax each part of their body, noticing where they feel any tension, anxiety or emotion. With each breath, encourage them to release this with their breath. Remind them of the things they have achieved and encourage them to think how they can continue with a positive outlook. It may also help to encourage them to think about things they enjoy doing, making sure they have time for those when it is possible to do so. If some activities have been curtailed, are there alternatives which could be accessed?

Make an origami paper crane or simple bird - in the Japanese art of origami, legend says that it can bring peace and happiness to those who make them.

For staff – plan something together as part of the debrief. This could be a walk and talk or tea and cake after school, or at lunchtime. Signpost to support and check in with each other.