ARCTEC and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have teamed up with well-known illustrators and publishers to launch an extensive range of free digital COVID-19 educational resources for children.

This exciting new campaign by the ARCTEC team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine aims to support and educate children and parents on the science behind COVID-19.

The ‘Hans on COVID’ campaign is headed up by scientists from the ARCTEC team at LSHTM and developed in partnership with the global communications consultancy Ketchum. It is fronted by a new cartoon character called Hans, who will be giving parents and teachers a helping hand, and handy tips, to engage children in public health science in the weeks and months ahead.

As part of this campaign, the team is also working with the online educational publisher Twinkl to produce an exciting range of free online resources tailored for different age groups, from two to 18 years-old.

Stories, games and activities will be available to teachers, parents and carers to download over the coming weeks on Twinkl. Our launch materials are available now at https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/twinkl-partnerships/london-school-of-hygiene-tropical-medicine-partnerships

To bring this vision to life for younger children, the team has worked with renowned children’s author and illustrator Lydia Monks, who illustrated the What the Ladybird Heard books, to create another caring character, called Dr Dog, who is aimed at educating and providing reassurance to young children.

Together with child psychologists, the team are developing resources designed to not only educate, but support and reassure children, as well as parents and teachers during this difficult time.

The ‘Hans on COVID’ campaign will run for six months initially, evolving as recommendations change and health advice is updated. In the longer term, the ARCTEC team will be translating and adapting these educational resources into different languages to run programmes in low income countries, combining the COVID-19 messaging with other public health messages around other diseases, such as malaria.

Professor James Logan, who is spearheading this campaign, said: “It’s been a lot of fun coming up with the characters and working with some wonderfully creative and talented people. But there is an important side to this.

“For many young people, in the UK and around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is a time of uncertainty, confusion and anxiety, with lots of misinformation online. As a parent myself, I felt there was a bit of a gap when it came to support for giving accurate information to children in an engaging what that didn’t scare them”.