The UK’s Covid Inquiry has initiated its examination into the pandemic’s impact on children and adolescents. Key areas of focus encompass the repercussions on education, development, mental health, and social media usage among young individuals. Ensuring inclusivity, the inquiry pledges to listen to children with special needs, disabilities, and diverse ethnic backgrounds. Anticipated public hearings are slated to commence in 2025.

Initially criticized for overlooking the impact on children and youth, the inquiry expanded its scope following public feedback. Spearheaded by former High Court judge Baroness Heather Hallett, the inquiry has already delved into seven modules, addressing topics such as pandemic preparedness and healthcare systems’ responses. Module eight will scrutinize the pandemic’s effects on children and young people, examining their consideration in decision-making processes.

Themes to be explored in this module encompass the extent of planning for children’s involvement in pandemic responses, the impact of measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, disruptions to education, and the implications for physical and mental well-being. Additionally, the inquiry will assess access to healthcare and social care services, as well as the influence of online platforms.

Those interested in contributing to this module can submit their input through the Covid inquiry website until June 17, 2024. Concurrently, a research initiative is gathering perspectives from children and young people on their pandemic experiences, ensuring diverse voices are heard. Furthermore, the inquiry’s listening project, “Every Story Matters,” is collating narratives from parents, caregivers, and educators, enriching the understanding of the pandemic’s impact on young individuals.