By Jim Flieler, VP of Sales Canada, Charlotte Products Ltd

We all know that COVID-19 has completely changed the way we clean and protect schools, but we wanted to better understand how these changes have impacted students. With rules in schools across North America that mandate mask wearing, social distancing and constant hand washing and sanitizing, how are students faring this year?

To get a better picture of how all of our public health protocol and rules have affected students, we checked in with some school aged children in our bi-weekly Charlotte webinar. The students interviewed may not have noticed all the extra work their school custodians are doing, but they are well aware of many other changes to their school days. 

The school year in 2020-21 for students across North America is absolutely different than any school year before. Some of the new rules that schools across North America have implemented include:

  • Mandatory mask wearing by students and teachers while indoors
  • Social distancing rules
  • Keeping desks six feet apart
  • Eating lunch at individual classroom desks, not in the cafeteria
  • Temperature and health checks every morning before entering the building
  • No group work in the classroom
  • Increased use of technology to collaborate, even while in school
  • More outdoor classes
  • Staying in small “cohorts” throughout the day
  • Staggered seating on the school buses
  • Students sitting with siblings on the school bus

Then there are the college-aged students who are experiencing the most unique academic school year in living memory.  Many colleges and universities are closed to in-person instruction, with Zoom University becoming the norm. And for students who have been able to attend in-person college, the joy of being on campus is mixed with a rotation of quarantining, the prohibition of parties or fraternizing outside of the dorm room, not to mention no sports teams to cheer on.

It’s no wonder that parents are worried about the impact the pandemic will have on their children. In fact, a recent survey from Children’s Healthcare Canada (CHC) and an ongoing study from Brock University show that 70 percent of Canadians polled fear COVID-19 will impact children’s education and that students are afraid of the virus.

Overall, respondents said the pandemic has already affected kids. Here are some of the main figures from the survey, as reported by the CBC.

  • Sixty-six per cent of Canadians polled worry COVID-19 will impact children’s mental health and social and emotional well-being.
  • Sixty-two per cent of respondents said the pandemic has deepened the inequalities between families based on household income and wealth.
  • Fifty-one per cent of those surveyed think the virus has affected access to routine health and wellness visits for children and youth.

Despite all of that, we have hope that the pandemic will have a positive impact on students this year, too. The students we featured in our panel surprised us by spouting the three pillars of infection prevention without any prompting from us. These students know the importance of wearing the mask, practicing social distancing and washing their hands. They told us that their peers in school are following these rules, too. While we all naturally worry about the impact of this pandemic on our children, have faith. Children are resilient and we believe that as they notice the importance of following the rules, the value of cleanliness and a safe environment, and their role as a member of their community, that the future looks bright.