How Much Do Our Children Understand About COVID-19?

By Lysol
During COVID-19, the dad gives his young son a piggy back ride. They are both wearing protective masks.

As the school year comes to a close and we continue to strive towards a semblance of normalcy in our daily lives, now is a time to reflect on all we have experienced over the past 14+ months. Many aspects of life have looked incredibly different since March 2020, especially at school, and no two students had the same experience.

Whether your child attended in-person school or participated in virtual learning, one constant for all students was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and adapting to new ways of learning. Teachers and parents alike strategized on how to teach their kids about what is happening in our world, but how much did kids actually understand about the pandemic?

In November, Lysol conducted a survey of children nationwide ages eight to 12, to understand their thoughts and knowledge on COVID-19. The results show that our kids are not only intimately familiar with the particulars of the pandemic but that they are also receptive to the new behaviors and actions we were all forced to adopt—both at home and at school.

Students surveyed have a strong understanding of COVID-19 and how it spreads.

97% of children know COVID-19 is a virus and 88% could name at least two ways the virus is transmitted. The majority of children were also interested in continuing to learn more about COVID-19 and how to practice healthy habits, with 77% responding they would consider joining a COVID safety club.

Handwashing, mask-wearing and spreading desks out made children feel safer at school.

The survey asked students which healthy practices made them feel the safest at school. Leading the way was handwashing and sanitizer usage (80%), followed by mask wearing (79%) and distancing desks in the classroom (62%). Overall, almost all students felt that their schools were doing everything they could to keep them safe, with 92% agreeing with this sentiment.

Children surveyed gave their peers a higher grade versus grownups for social distancing.

The survey participants were also prompted to grade both their peers and the adults on how well they follow social distancing rules. The kids surveyed gave their peers a higher grade than the grownups with 73% of respondents giving their peers an A or a B (in the A-F range), but only 62% giving the same grades to adults. Most students, however, did state that their favorite part of social distancing is spending more time with their family, with 54% of participants choosing that option.

Looking ahead to the new school year

These survey results are a testament to the perceptiveness of children and their ability to absorb lessons from the pandemic. The final survey result shows they are also expecting permanent societal change. In fact, 99% of the kids surveyed think it will be important to continue washing hands even after the vaccine has been widely distributed.

As we reenter a world that more closely resembles pre-pandemic times, we must continue to applaud children for their resilience throughout the pandemic and celebrate them this summer. Soon enough it will be time to head back to school. When your child returns for the 2021-22 school year, be sure to encourage your administrators to use healthy habit resources and materials that can be found at

Lysol is a proud national sponsor of PTA.

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