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Answering the Questions about Coronavirus with Kids

By Bicram Rijal and Aahana Rijal

Aahana made this mask for her lion king and said, “I want my lion king to wear a mask to protect himself from coronavirus.”

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a short form for coronavirus disease which was first identified in 2019.

Where was it first identified?

It was first identified in Wuhan, a city in China.

Is it why I heard some people calling it a Chinese virus?

It is NOT a Chinese virus. That is a wrong and racist way to talk about it. The racists believe that some groups of people are naturally better than others and always put blame on others.

Whom does the virus infect?

The virus can infect anybody, but it’s mostly the elderly and people with pre-existing health problems who are at high risk.

Are kids likely to get COVID-19?

Even though there is only a low number of kids who have been infected by coronavirus as of now, it is likely that they can get coronavirus if they don’t take precautions.

What are the precautions that kids and everybody should take to stop the spread of coronavirus?

Wash your hands with soap and water regularly. Don’t go out unless necessary. Stay in your home. Don’t touch lots of stuff while you are out and use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after you touch them.

Are other people also doing something to prevent the spread of the virus?

Yes, everybody is doing their part. But, mostly it’s the health workers like doctors and nurses who are taking the lead. My mom is still going to work, and she is helping too.

“We need to store some food during coronavirus,” says Aahana describing her drawing.

Everybody is saying that this is a difficult time. What should we do to prepare for it?

Don’t panic. Make sure you and your family have stock of foods or required items for a few weeks but don’t buy too much at once. You may end up wasting food. Be mindful that you don’t waste anything, or you don’t overuse anything.

I am scared? What should I do to stay calm?

Be thankful to what and who you have around to support you. In life, difficult times come, but they will go away one day. Remember that you are not the only one who is having this difficult time. Everybody is having it. Your best friends are also having the same situation. So, stay positive and hopeful.

When I am stuck inside my home, what can I do to remain positive and engaged?

Imagine that you are in your classroom and do some of the classroom activities like drawing, reading, writing, coloring or painting. Read books from your bookshelves or if you have access to the Internet, you can read books online too, watch creative and funny shows and videos.

You can also help your parents clean up your home, wash dishes, water plants. Don’t just watch too much TV. You can also invite your dad and/or mom to do some activities together. For example, I and my dad are working on a storybook. I am an illustrator and he is an author.

Can I go out to the park or playground and play?

If you are too bored inside, you can occasionally go out to the park with your family members and play for a bit. You can run around or hike. But don’t touch the slides, swings, monkey bars, ladders. They may have virus sitting on them. Remember not to be close to anybody outside of your family members.

“They need to stay at least 1 meter apart from each other,” says Aahana describing the drawing of her favorite toys, Lula (left) and Luna (right).

Why cannot I invite my friends for a playdate?

The virus can transmit from one person to another through touch or close contact. That’s why you cannot playdate. Remember, health officers are asking us that we should keep a distance of at least 1-2 meters with other people.

I am missing my friends. What can I do to stay connected?

“You can call them on phone,” says my mom. “Or you can video-chat on Viber, Facebook Messanger, Whatsapp,” says my dad. Ask your dad or mom to call your friend’s parent and show your friend a project that you are currently working on.

What can I do when I run out of toilet papers?

You can wash your W with water if you run out of toilet papers. In Nepal, where my grandparents live, most people do it. You can use a yogurt container to pour water. Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water afterward. Remember to wash them for at least 20 seconds. To keep track of time, sing ABC or Happy Birthday to You song twice.

Bicram Rijal (dad) is a PhD. Candidate in Anthropology at Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, Canada. Aahana Rijal (daughter) is a grade 1, 6-year old student at Capitol Hill Elementary School in Burnaby, Canada. Aahana loves drawing, Lego-building, hiking and making artworks based on used materials. All the above photos are taken by Bicram Rijal.

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