Newcastle teen left bedridden by long Covid gets into top university

Jake Zibe will be going on to study computer science

A student in Newcastle who was left bedridden after suffering from long covid has secured a place in a top university.

Jake Zibe tested positive for Covid-19 in his first week of year 12, and spent the remainder of the year bedridden, having difficulty breathing and was also on steroids to help his condition.

He attended Dame Allan’s Schools and his attendance declined to 50 per cent after he tried to overcome the long-term effects of Covid, reports ITV News.

Despite the health setback, Jake studied hard for his A-level exams and achieved A B C in biology, geography and maths, securing a place at at Sheffield Hallam University to study computer science.

Jake managed to continue his studies whilst isolating at home and had frequent contact with teachers and attended lessons online via Google Meet.

The 18-year-old said: “When I tested positive for Covid it didn’t affect me hugely, other than a cough and a change in my sense of taste, and I assumed I’d be back in the classroom relatively quickly. But instead of recovering, I started having gastrointestinal problems and extreme fatigue. 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.”

“Missing so much of Year 12 and being bedridden meant I had huge gaps in my knowledge that affected my ability to understand and learn subsequent topics. I also developed brain fog and would often forget things I’d only recently been told,” said Jake.

“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 also admitted, the long Covid additionally impacted his mental health along with his studies.

“There were some low times when I was unable to get out of bed, just lying in the darkness and in pain. I missed getting physical exercise and seeing friends, it was like being in the toughest lockdown all over again,” he said.

Since his experience, Jake’s outlook on life has differed. Now on the road to recovery, Jake has been interrailing across Europe with friends and is excited about starting university.

He said: “I’m proud of myself today. My results are proof that despite the challenges I faced, I was still able to achieve good grades with hard work and the support of those around me.

“I feel even more determined to enjoy every moment of my university years and make up for the time I lost to coronavirus.”

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.”

Recommended articles by this author: