Student hit by long Covid wins university place after losing months of schooling

Jake Zibe’s headteacher at Dame Allan’s Schools in Newcastle has praised him for battling through his health issues.

A student who lost months of schooling due to long Covid and had to cram his A-level learning into just a year is celebrating after winning a place at university.

Jake Zibe, 18, contracted coronavirus in his first week of sixth form at Dame Allan’s Schools in Newcastle and was left bedridden.

Feeling better but not fully recovered last summer, he was given the option of re-sitting his first year of sixth form, but instead opted to catch up by cramming two years into one.

After taking extra lessons over last summer, which continued during lunchtimes and after school this year, he has achieved an A in biology, a B in geography and a C in maths, earning him a place at Sheffield Hallam University to study computer science.

Will Scott, principal at Dame Allan’s Schools, said: “The pandemic had already impacted Jake’s GCSE years, with home learning enforced during lockdown and exams cancelled, so for the virus to then have such a devastating effect on his health and wellbeing during his A-level years was exceptionally difficult for him.

“However, Jake has shown incredible strength of character and worked exceptionally hard for today’s results. He should feel very proud of himself.

“His focus and determination to succeed will serve him well in life.”

Jake, from Gosforth, Newcastle, recalled how his health declined with Covid: “I ended up completely bedridden, on steroids and other medication, and unable to return to school for months.

“Even when I was able to slowly return to school on some days, I had zero energy and struggled to stay awake and focused during lessons. The moment I’d get home I’d sleep for hours.

“The fatigue lasted for months on end and still affects me now.”

He added: “I was faced with the stark reality of having to retake Year 12 but felt determined not to let the condition rob me of a year of my life.

“With Dame Allan’s support, I did all I could to catch up over the summer holiday before starting Year 13 and then received extra lunchtime and after school tuition, which was a huge help.”

He said pupils in his year have faced huge challenges due to Covid, with both their GCSEs and A-levels affected.

“It was particularly bad during our GCSEs when we were completely isolated and not seeing our friends,” he said.

“Life is more normal now, but it is still not completely there for a lot of people.”

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