NewsCoronavirusLocal Coronavirus News


Utah's historians are asking children to help document life in the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 3:42 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 17:42:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's Division of History is asking children to help document living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a questionnaire sent to students statewide, the division is asking children from elementary school to contribute to the state's archives by describing their life in these historic times.

"There’s questions based on society, family life, school life, extracurricular activities," curator Lisa Barr said in an interview.

Some of the responses shared with FOX 13 have provided insight into how Utah's children are viewing the pandemic.

"At first when it was only canceled for two weeks I thought oh its fine we will go back to school in two weeks. Then when they announced that it would be canceled until May 1, 2020 I was very upset because I wouldn’t be able to see my friends on my birthday which was April 3. I also felt nervous because I was worried that school would be canceled for the rest of the school year. When they did say school would be canceled for the rest of the year I was so sad. This is my last year of elementary school and the sixth graders do a lot of fun things at the end of the year and we don’t get to do any of the fun things," wrote a 12-year-old who submitted to the project.

Barr said children attached coronavirus memes or photos of their families in face masks. But some of the responses highlight the uncertainty of things.

"They worry about so many people being out of work, if anybody’s getting sick," she said.

Others have learned something about themselves.

"I’ve learned that I’m totally capable of doing things on my own, specifically school work. When first starting online school I thought it would be impossible and that I would be incapable of doing it all on my own. But so far I’ve proven myself wrong," wrote a 16-year-old at Ben Lomond High in Ogden.

Barr said the responses collected from online and through social studies teachers in Utah will ultimately go into the state's historic archives. A similar project was done on a federal level during the Great Depression, she said, but nothing quite like this involving Utah's youth.

"Right now, we’re comparing things to the 1918 pandemic. Eventually, this pandemic’s going to be compared to that as well. So it’ll start informing other patterns in history," Barr said.

If you're an elementary, junior high or high school student who wants to participate, click here.