Covid-19 coronavirus: Lockdown according to Kiwi kids

As adults, most of us like to think we have a pretty clear idea of what Covid is and why we’re in lockdown. But while we stress over the big stuff: the economic impact, our mental health and major life events, grumble over the missed: a party this Friday, a sports game at the weekend, and sit on the couch eating our feelings because, well, it feels like there’s nothing else to do – what is this upheaval like for the young ones among us?

From tablet charger issues to cancelled school balls, delighting in Chris Hipkins’ Tik Tok infamy and discovering the joys of sleeping in on a “school day”, kids from Queenstown to Northland share what Generation Z knows about Covid and reveal the biggest challenges and disappointments that come with growing up in lockdown.

Oscar Smith, 6, Queenstown.

Oscar lives with his parents, Harley and Kristen, baby brother, Marlon, and his cat, Wolf. If it weren’t for lockdown, he’d be off “up the mountain”, going to football and to jujitsu classes.

What is Covid and why do we have to go into lockdown?
When people get sick and they die. [We have to go into lockdown] because someone got Covid from Sydney. I think they came back from Sydney with Coronavirus.

What did you think when you were told we had to go into lockdown again?
I thought it was really dumb.

What’s it like being together all the time?
It’s alright but we have to entertain ourselves because Mum and Dad are working [from home] all the time. It’s a bit of trouble. Because my brother comes along and he screams.

What’s the worst thing about being in lockdown?
You mostly can’t go anywhere. You can only go to the supermarket and for walks.

What’s the best thing?
Spending time with our family.

What’s it like trying to do your schoolwork?
Hard. Because it’s not the same as school.

What would you do if we weren’t in lockdown?
Go up the mountain, go to football, go to jujitsu.

Isabella Ross, 16, Auckland/Whangārei

Isabella attends St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland as a boarding student. When lockdown was announced, her classmates were in tears as they realised their school ball would have to be cancelled.

What is Covid?
Covid is a global disease and a strand of the Coronavirus that changed the world towards the end of 2019. Within months the disease spread from China throughout the world.

Why do we have to be in lockdown?
So we can prevent Covid from spreading around the community.

What did you think when you were told we had to go into lockdown again?
I understood why it was necessary, but I was extremely upset as I realised our school ball would be cancelled. As soon as an article was released about a possible community case, some of my classmates started crying.

I had to pack my bags to come home to Whangārei. Mum drove to Auckland to get me. It was a long night filled with adrenaline and the shock of a nationwide lockdown.

What’s it like being with your family all the time?
It isn’t too bad during the week – I’m in online school most of the day. On the weekends it’s actually nice spending time with my family after being away at boarding school. Last weekend I went on a bike ride with my dad, played tennis with my mum, made Tik Toks with my sister (14), played football with my brother (12), and walked my dog, Oscar.

What’s the worst thing about lockdown?
I can’t see my friends in Auckland. And it’s so much easier to get distracted working from home. In fact, it’s a nightmare. It takes a lot more self-discipline than sitting in a classroom.

What’s the best thing about lockdown?
Being able to sleep in longer on weekdays and having more flexible due dates in school.

Do you know who Ashley Bloomfield is?
Yes. My favourite video of his was his Covid-19 remix announcement at the Six-60 concert in Waitangi earlier this year. He’s the chief executive director of the Ministry of Health and features on the daily Covid press conferences.

Do you know who Chris Hipkins is?
Chris Hipkins is the Minister of Education. I found the video on Tik Tok and Instagram of him talking about “spreading your legs” instead of “stretching your legs” – and Ashley Bloomfield’s reaction – very funny.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CS3CDd1p1n7/

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Louis Garton, 11, Whangārei.

Louis was born in London to Kiwi parents. His mum, Susie, brought him and his brothers, James (15), and Joseph (13), home to New Zealand in March after spending a total of seven months in lockdown in the UK.

What is Covid and why do we have to go into lockdown?
A deadly virus. [We have to be in lockdown] to stop the spread of Covid.

What did you think when you were told we had to go into lockdown again?
No school!

What’s it like being together all the time?
Good. A little boring.

How does lockdown in New Zealand compare to what you experienced in London?
It isn’t much different and I’m not sure which is better.

What’s the worst thing about lockdown?
Not seeing my friends and online lessons.

What’s the best thing?
Sleeping in.

What’s it like trying to do your schoolwork from home?
Very weird and annoying and my tablet has charger issues.

What do you miss most or wish you could go and do if we weren’t in lockdown?
Going to school.

Have you heard of Ashley Bloomfield? What does he do?
No, I’ve never heard of him. Is he a scientist?

Do you know who Chris Hipkins is?
No. Another scientist?

Violet Stevens, 8, Auckland.

Violet is pretty clued up about Covid and knows the name “Ashley Bloomfield”. ” … he is in charge of fighting Covid.” Her bubble includes her mum, Nadia, Dad, Hayden, and brother George, 6.

What is Covid and why do we have to be in lockdown?
Covid is a deadly disease than can kill you. [We have to be in lockdown] so we can stay safe and not get sick.

What did you think when you were told we had to go into lockdown again?
I felt very sad because we don’t get to see our friends and have fun with them. And my brother was upset because he missed his school trip to the museum.

What’s it like being together all the time?
I enjoy spending time with my family. Mum and Dad are both working from home. We all try and stick to a routine and do our schoolwork.

What’s the worst thing about lockdown?
That we don’t get to see our friends.

What’s the best?
That we get to spend time together as a family.

What is it like trying to do your schoolwork from home?
It is kind of hard.

What do you wish you could go and do?
Play with my friends and play netball.

Have you heard of Ashley Bloomfield?
Yes, he is in charge of fighting Covid.

Do you know who Chris Hipkins is?
No.

Lucas and Tom Reitsma, 8 and 13, Feilding.

Lucas and Tom are brothers who live with their their 15-year-old sister, their dog, Kona, and their mum and dad. While they are homeschooled they are still feeling the impact of lockdown in other ways.

What is Covid?
Lucas: A dangerous virus.

Why do we have to be in lockdown?
Lucas: So we’re safe from the virus.
Tom: Because it’s apparently super-contagious.

What did you think when you were told we had to go into lockdown again?
Lucas: I was quite sad.
Tom: First of all it was kind of annoying, but also kind of exciting.

What’s it like being together all the time?
Lucas:It’s weird.
Tom: It’s kind of like normal life except my sister is home from work.

What’s the worst thing about lockdown?
Lucas and Tom: Not seeing friends.

What’s the best?
Lucas: We can do family things together all the time.
Tom: I have some money to order books.

Are your parents working from home or are they essential workers?
Tom: My dad’s an essential worker – a truck driver – and my mum works at home.

What is it like trying to do your schoolwork from home?
Lucas: I do schoolwork at home anyway (we home school) but I miss my co-op classes and gymnastics lessons.
Tom: Normal everyday life for me (we home school).

What do you wish you could go and do but can’t because we’re in lockdown?
Lucas: Gymnastics lessons
Tom: Get out to see my friends.

Have you heard of Ashley Bloomfield?
Lucas: Yes. General of the Ministry of Health.
Tom: Definitely. Director general of Health.

Do you know who Chris Hipkins is?
Lucas: Nope.
Tom: I don’t think so.

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