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March 13, 2020

What is COVID-19 and Resources for Helping Our Students and Schools

Perspectives and Plans

World Health Organization (WHO) explains exactly what coronavirus is, what the symptoms are, and how it spreads. In addition, the WHO’s website includes the latest updates about the virus. In basic terms, COVID-19 is a virus that is contracted by contact or exposure with another person who has been infected. Symptoms are similar to the common cold and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states those who are most at-risk include people with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and weakened immune systems, as well as those over 65. It appears (so far) that children and young people are less susceptible.

Here is a link to the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.

2. What can we do to help students and schools?

Students may have questions about what is happening and what it means for them. This resource from National Public Radio, What Kids Want To Know takes a look at both coronavirus, and ways we can help students understand.

The Journal’s 4 Resources on Coronavirus for K-12 Schools” provides reputable resources about the virus. And, should your school, district, or state determine the necessity to teach and learn virtually, here is a list of virtual teaching tools you can leverage for learning, the best advice for teaching K-12 online, along with these lesson plans to teach about coronavirus.

The article, “6 Ways Universities Are Responding” lists what schools at the collegiate level are doing in response to the virus, like moving to online learning and teaching about coronavirus.

Finally, “Managing Coronavirus Anxiety” recognizes many of us are experiencing anxiety due to the outbreak, and includes tools for dealing with that anxiety.

3. Where did COVID-19 originate?

As humans encroach more and more on animal habitats, it becomes more likely there will be crossover of viruses from animals to humans and humans to animals. In this 5 minute segment, Here’s How Scientists Think Coronavirus Spreads , the hypotheses about where COVID-19 came from is explored. Watch, listen, and pay attention to the scientists’ requests not to vilify certain species, as they are all essential to our ecosystem.

4. What should we do?

We see and hear this advice everywhere, but it is wise to say it again:

Listen to the experts, and…

  • stay home when sick
  • cover coughs and sneezes
  • wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds or longer
  • avoid touching your face


World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes on Health.


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