Public Health

4 Resources on Coronavirus for K–12 Schools

4 Useful Resources on Coronavirus for K–12 Schools

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Nine projects listed in DonorsChoose are currently asking for donations by teachers who want to educate their students or minimize the threat of Coronavirus, now referred to by experts more commonly as COVID-19. A teacher in Paterson Public Elementary School in New Jersey is asking for the funds to buy "sanitizing wipes, disinfectant spray, alcohol and peroxide and cleaning supplies in order to stay germ-free and healthy," for her middle schoolers. Another teacher in Cotter, AR hopes to acquire games for a "medical detectives class," which is exploring an "outbreak that is slowly occurring." The final project, he wrote, "requires becoming an epidemiologist and learning how to track down the source to prevent its spread."

Those seem to be the two options that are most needed right now, as COVID-19 enters the mainstream — keeping surfaces clean and our hands washed and making sure we're educated on how viruses operate and what their impact can be.

But if you're seeking useful resources for educating your students about COVID-19, here are four resources we recommend, ordered by youngest learner to oldest.

A three-minute podcast (with accompanying transcript) from the University of Utah Health, an academic healthcare system, offers multiple tips for teaching young kids how to wash their hands. If you want to teach them how viruses spread, Dr. Cindy Geller suggest putting a little glitter on their hands and then letting them off and play. When they're done, explore the room to see where all the glitter has landed — other than on their hands.

Recently, NPR Education published a useful comic guide for kids on how to protect themselves. While the guide can be read on a device, it can also be printed out, folded up, snipped and turned into a tiny zine.

High schoolers may be interested in monitoring the data updated in real-time on a Johns Hopkins University interactive dashboard. The information covers the total confirmed cases of COVID-19; a running count of total deaths and total recovered (3,131 and 48,190, respectively, in today's count); the number of cases by country (so far, that covers 76 named countries, including 106 cases in the United States); and other related statistics.

4 Useful Resources on Coronavirus for K–12 Schools

Finally, here's a bonus resource. If you or your students are really serious about learning about COVID-19, there's a free eight-week Coursera crash course online whose materials are continually being updated to reflect the latest information. It's being taught by three faculty members from Imperial College London's School of Public Health. Sessions are brief (most are under an hour apiece), and there's no homework due. Assignments consist of watching short videos and doing readings. The lessons discuss the details of the virus as they're currently understood; examine the case fatality rate, how it varies and why it matters; the "economics" of outbreaks; how vaccines are developed in real-time; and how the community participates and the role social media plays.

The Centers for Disease Control has suggested that schools reach out to their local public health departments and most have probably already done so. These health officials are getting continual briefings through webinars and phone calls from the CDC. But the bulk of the guidance consists of this for the communities where cases of the virus haven't been identified: "encouraging hand hygiene, monitoring absenteeism [and] communicating routinely." In places that have had confirmed cases, it's trickier. Districts have closed schools long enough to do a deep-clean; they've taken steps to cancel extra activities and large events and discouraged the school community from "gathering or socializing anywhere." Some have even gone to the extent of helping teachers to prepare to teach online.

Have COVID-19-related procedures worth sharing? Add them to comments below so the whole community benefits.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.