A UK school has teamed up with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to host a “global classroom” online that helped hundreds of thousands of young people learn more about COVID-19.
The event, which was broadcast live via Microsoft Teams, was organised by Scarisbrick Hall School, in Lancashire, who invited schoolchildren from 193 countries to ask questions about the pandemic.
Lord Michael Hastings, who hosted the event, was joined via a video Teams call by Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the WHO; Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF; and Samuel Eto’o, Global Ambassador for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They answered questions submitted by some of the children live via Teams.
Robert, from the UK, asked Fore if she believed the world would emerge stronger from the lockdown.
She replied: “I do. This crisis has reminded us all of things we find in common, such as keeping our family safe. It’s also made us appreciate learning more than we did before. I hope the world will emerge stronger and more unified, and all of you children will have a part to play in that because you are our future leaders.”
Noah, in Virginia, asked Adhanom how he could make a difference in fighting the pandemic.
“There is a lot you can do for your own health and your family’s health,” Adhanom said. “Keep yourself safe and you can protect others. You can clean your hands well, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, avoid touching your face, keep at least one metre away from others, know what the symptoms of Coronavirus are. If you feel sick, tell your parents. Try to remain active physically and mentally. Try to stay up to date on information. Eat well and keep a daily routine.”
The experts also heard from children in Cambodia, France and Finland via the live video function in Teams.
Eto’o, a former professional footballer, spoke about staying healthy and demonstrated exercises that people can do at home. “I have faith that there will be better days in store for us,” he added. “You have to believe in yourself; in doing so you have already walked 50% of the way. The other 50% is to give yourself the means, to find the opportunities you want and become better in what you do.”
Adhanom closed the hour-long event by calling on young people to keep using their voices and “together we can build a better world”.