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School, Virtually

With school, universities and colleges closed, Polish children and university students have been confined to their homes, taking online lessons and communicating with their teachers and their peers purely online.

What seemed like a temporary measure when the pandemic first spread across the world, with some countries opening and closing their schools in response to the infection rates going up and down, has now lasted for the best part of a year. Polish schools and colleges have been largely closed since March 2020 and while the number of people who have died from Covid-19 is about average for Europe, young people have seen their lives change in drastic ways. Unable to meet their friends, confined to their rooms for hours on end and bereft of the social interaction, young people have been missing out on one of the vital aspects of education.

Health services in many countries have recorded a drastic increase in the number of young people struggling with mental health issues - from depression to self-harming - and governments are trying to sail a course between avoiding the spread of the virus and damaging young peoples' prospects.

Piotr Malecki met and spoke to a number of children and young adults, asking them about their experience under lockdown and their outlook for the future.
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