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‘A slap in the face’ - Young people on being blamed for Covid-19 rise

PUBLISHED: 06:21 10 September 2020

Melissa Duffield, 16 wears a mask while chatting to fellow students at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Melissa Duffield, 16 wears a mask while chatting to fellow students at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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College students say it is unfair to blame young people for an increase in corovavirus cases particularly as they are the ones working hard to enforce regulations in tourist shops and cafes.

L-R   Emily Scott, 16, Kaylynn McCallum, 16,  Freya Kemp, 16, Melissa Duffield, 16 and Daniel Fanucci, 16 all students at East Norfolk Sixth Form College. Picture: Neil DidsburyL-R Emily Scott, 16, Kaylynn McCallum, 16, Freya Kemp, 16, Melissa Duffield, 16 and Daniel Fanucci, 16 all students at East Norfolk Sixth Form College. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Teenagers at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston said they often face criticism from older people after telling them to wear face masks or sanitise hands, receiving an offended or angry response.

Left with nothing to do after schools closed in March many said they took jobs to pass the time and to find a way to get out while socialising was off limits - putting them on the front line in the busiest holiday spots.

Meanwhile, it was the older generation and holiday makers who acted as though the rules didnt apply to them who were the most deserving of criticism - although overall they said all groups in society shared the same responsibility and that there were people of all ages who had become too relaxed.

Emily Scott, 16, who is studying politics, psychology and sociology, said the Government knew it had already lost their votes due to the exam results saga and that young people were “the easiest people to scapegoat.”

Students socially distance at East Norfolk Sixth Form College. Picture: Neil DidsburyStudents socially distance at East Norfolk Sixth Form College. Picture: Neil Didsbury

“The Government knows they have lost our votes already so they are trying to get everyone else on-side,” she said.

“If anyone is to blame it is Dominic Cummings. It got worse after that,” she added.

Daniel Fanucci, 16, who is studying film, finance and drama, said the problem lay in lockdown being lifted too soon, not the actions of young people.

“We are as responsible as anyone else,” he said.

Emily Scott, 16 thinks youngsters have been scapegoats for the Government's mis-handling of the covid crisis. Picture: Neil DidsburyEmily Scott, 16 thinks youngsters have been scapegoats for the Government's mis-handling of the covid crisis. Picture: Neil Didsbury

“In Yarmouth there is no social distancing, everyone has given up on it.

“I work in a diner. Holiday makers think they are on holiday and it doesn’t apply to them.

“It is like crossing the road without looking, they do not care.”

Melissa Duffield, 16, studying chemistry, physics, and maths, said it was completely normal among her peers to social distance and wear a mask in the corridors and in lessons.

L-R Emily Scott, 16, Kaylynn McCallum, 16, Freya Kemp, 16, Melissa Duffield, 16 and Daniel Fanucci, 16 all students at East Norfolk Sixth Form College. Picture: Neil DidsburyL-R Emily Scott, 16, Kaylynn McCallum, 16, Freya Kemp, 16, Melissa Duffield, 16 and Daniel Fanucci, 16 all students at East Norfolk Sixth Form College. Picture: Neil Didsbury

However, at her place of work, people were completely ignoring track and trace and failing to supply their details.

“The Government is always looking for someone to blame,” she said.

“Boris has no idea how hard it has been for our generation.

“People’s goals for going to uni were taken away from them.

“It has been hard being out of education for so long, so to be blamed is a bit of a slap in the face.”

Freya Kemp, 16, studying criminology, biology, and chemistry, said she worked in a takeaway and was constantly having to challenge older people about taking Covid-safe precautions and often received an offended or angry response as people over 40 found direction from a teenager hard to take,

And Kaylynn McCallum, who is taking psychology, criminology, and art, said many parents at a holiday park where she worked did not enforce the rules and while there would always be a proportion of people who flouted them, they were across all age groups.


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