A new survey developed by a team at Dalhousie University in Halifax is specifically asking children how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their well-being and how they feel about going back to school in September.
"It's inevitable and to be expected that children will be anxious about returning to school," said lead researcher Sara Kirk.
Students in Nova Scotia will return to school on Sept. 8. Schools will be operating as usual but with increased safety protocols and enhanced cleaning procedures. All students in grades 4 and up will be required to wear non-medical face masks.
"This is not school as we know it. It's almost like being day one of your whole entire school career. You don't know, none of us really know, what it's going to look like in the school system," Kirk said.
The survey was designed by a team of researchers at the Healthy Populations Institute at the university. It asks school-age children how they've been feeling during the the pandemic and how their eating, exercise and sleeping habits and behaviour have changed.
There is also a survey designed for parents who want to walk their children through the process.
Dr. Daniel Chorney, a Halifax psychologist, said many children and young adults are worried about contracting COVID-19, but also about spreading the coronavirus, especially at school.
Chorney said it's OK for children to feel anxious about COVID-19, but they can learn to balance their anxiety by following public health directives.
"When it comes to being responsible and not passing it on, it's [about] taking all those public health tips. It's washing your hands, don't touch your face, wear a mask [and] keep your social or physical distance," he said.
Kirk said the team has received about 100 responses to the survey.
"We need to hear from teachers. We need to hear from parents, but we also need to hear from the students themselves as to how this is going to impact their health and well-being," Kirk said.
"What's going to influence them as they approach this new world and this unknown that's fast coming upon us?"
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