This qualification is designed to support young people in secondary schools to understand the purpose and the importance of measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, giving them the tools and education to make informed choices about their health and wellbeing.

This project is part of the work undertaken in Southampton to pilot a population-level saliva testing programme for COVID-19. This has included widespread testing taking place in educational settings in the city, such as schools, colleges and universities. The educational resources designed through this project are intended to help young people to understand how to engage in this testing process, as well as to deepen their understanding of the wider measures in place in schools and across wider society to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This Ofqual-regulated qualification builds upon the existing and successful RSPH Level 2 Award for Young Health Champions, which supports young people to develop the skills and knowledge to act as peer health mentors. The Level 2 Award for COVID-19 Young Health Champions will use this methodology to support learners to build their knowledge of the importance of measures in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to pass this knowledge on effectively to their friends and peers.

Christina Marriott, Chief Executive of RSPH said:

“We are really excited to be partnering with both the University of Southampton and the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver this project. COVID-19 has turned the day-to-day lives of young people upside down. It has shattered their daily routine and disrupted beyond recognition the way in which they access their education. It is of critical importance that young people are supported to understand the purpose of these measures and to know that by participating in them, they are helping to save lives."

“We are delighted to be working with RSPH on this incredibly important piece of work,” says Professor Keith Godfrey MBE, Professor of Epidemiology and Human Development in the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton who has led development of the Southampton Saliva Testing programme. “We quickly identified in the early stages of the saliva testing pilot that there was a real appetite from young people to understand the science behind the measures that had been introduced. The teaching and learning resources developed through this project allow this to happen.”

Kath Woods-Townsend, LifeLab Programme Manager at the University of Southampton said:

“We are delighted to be building on the existing relationship that we have in place with RSPH through our work on the Level 2 Young Health Champions programme. We know that peer support is a resource that young people value highly when it comes to all aspects of health and wellbeing. The Level 2 Award for COVID-19 Young Health Champions will help young people to support their friends to understand and engage with these really important measures to keep us all safe”.

The RSPH Level 2 Award for COVID-19 Young Health Champions will be launched on March 1st and will be available for delivery by RSPH’s qualifications centre network. To register your interest in delivering the qualification or to find out more about doing so, please contact Aaron Mansfield at [email protected]