Coronavirus: a teenager's guide

Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a new respiratory illness. This can be scary as you may not feel control over what is happening, but it is important to follow the guidelines and separate rumours or fake news from reality.
Look after yourself when reading the news

There are a number of places where you can read factual information about Coronavirus however, it is best to stick to a few official sources. These will help keeping you grounded, as otherwise you might imagine far worse situations than reality. 

And remember..

  • in the UK very few people are sick with the virus at the moment
  • the Government is working hard to make sure people in the UK are safe
  • not everyone will get the virus and if they do, the vast majority is going to recover fully
  • you might see a lot of stories and posts on social media but it can be hard to know whether these are true. Try not to rely on updates from there!

 Youth Out Loud! recommends you to check:


1. What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

The most common symptoms of Coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature or fever (above 37.8 degrees)- this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a continuous cough-  this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours 
  • shortness of breath
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

However, these symptoms don't always mean that you have caught Coronavirus. These are very common symptoms to other colds and flus.

2. How can I help preventing the spread of Coronavirus?

If you have one or more of Coronavirus symptoms, then you should not leave your home for at least 7 days. You should not go to the GP, to a pharmacy or hospital but if your symptoms become severe, don't change or get worse after 7 days you should call the NHS111.

Even if you don't have Coronavirus symptoms, everyone at this time should stay alert and safe. Keep up with the government’s guidance on the London Borough of Richmond’s website.

When social distancing isn't possible, if you go to hospital or on public transport you should wear a face covering. Find more about this HERE.

On top of this, be hygienic and make sure you wash your hands after going to the toilet, after sneezing or coughing or before eating food. This way you can protect yourself and the people you live with from getting ill. Do you know how to wash your hands properly? Watch the video.

3. What other new measures are there?

The prime minister said that in England:

  • Gatherings of more than six people (excluding people who live together) are banned
  • There will be no weddings or baptisms, only funerals are allowed
  • Parks will remain open, and people can now go out to exercise as many times as they wish. However, no more than 6 people should meet and social distancing should still be observed (keeping 2 metres apart from people you don't already live with). These meetings are not allowed indoors.

For more on what you can and can't do visit the Government's Website

Click HERE to find why there are different rules across the UK.

4. One of my family members is unwell. What should I do?

If you live with a family member who has Coronavirus symptoms, then you should not leave your home. This means you should also avoid going to the shops or to the park. Check HERE to know more about self-isolation.

5. Why are some people going to school, college or other educational settings and others aren’t?

As of the 1st of June schools have re-opened for some primary aged children and on the 15th of June some secondary schools have re-started face-to-face lessons to some extent. Some young people however, are still going to school full time because:

  • Their parents are key workers (such as nurses, police officers etc. See a full list HERE)
  • They are vulnerable, therefore safer at school then at home.

Some settings won’t be able to stay open for eligible students, so Local Authorities are coordinating other resources that they can access.

6. I am at secondary school. What is going to happen?

From the week commencing on the 15th of June, the Government asked secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12. Priority has been given to children with special educational needs or disabilities, and younger children (up to year 6), but not every school is re-opening. Schools and teachers will maintain communication open with you virtually, so that you can access learning resources and ask them any question.

If you are considered "clinically vulnerable", you must discuss your return with your school. To protect your health and safety you may be asked to carry on shielding. 

7. Should I prepare for my exams?

No, because exams such as GCSEs or A levels have now been cancelled. However, you should confirm this with your teachers as there are some exceptions. If you exams are not going ahead, you will not be awarded your predicted grades but they will rather be calculated in a standardised way, based on a range of evidence including non-exam assessment and mock results. If you are not happy with the calculated results, you will be able to sit an exam as soon as it will be possible, when schools and colleges open again. For more, check THIS out. 

8. What will school look like in the future?
England is planning to keep classroom doors and windows open to encourage airflow. One way systems may be introduced in your school. Other things that might look different are:
  • No more than 15 children per classroom
  • Pupils asked to stay 2m apart where possible 
  • More regular hand washing 
  • Staggered break and lunch times, plus different arrival and departure arrangements
  • Less sharing of equipment, with fewer items taken home
  • Parents should not gather at school gates 
  • Carers should only enter school buildings by appointment
  • If any pupils or staff - or anyone they live with - develop coronavirus symptoms, they will be asked to stay away from school.

If you have any questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) that are related to education, the Department of Education have setup a dedicated helpline. Staff, parents and young people can call 0800 046 8687 or email from 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday).

Looking for further information about coronavirus?

We have brought together the latest information about coronavirus including how you can get involved and help your community, and how to help your wellbeing during these uncertain times. 

Find out more