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Home / Education / Coronavirus education: How teachers can talk to students about COVID-19

Coronavirus education: How teachers can talk to students about COVID-19

Schools and teachers can play a pivotal role by sharing needful information and science-based facts about COVID-19.

education Updated: Mar 26, 2020 20:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Representational image.
Representational image. (HT file)

The spread of novel coronavirus has brought our lives to a standstill. People are practicing social isolation and self-distancing to curb its spread. The ensuing lockdown can be pretty stressful for people.

While it is becoming difficult for adults to remain quarantined for weeks, the bigger challenge is to make your kids understand.

Schools and teachers can play a pivotal role by sharing needful information and science-based facts about COVID-19.

The United Nations’ International Children’s Emergency Fund, a global initiative for the children, has suggested a few points for teachers to engage with their students.

For preschool children

· The focus should be on teaching them basic behaviours to maintain good health, such as covering mouth while sneezing or washing hands often.

· Regular handwashing can help children keep themselves hygienic at most times. Teachers can also demonstrate the same through small experiments. 

· Tell the kids to speak to their parents if they feel unwell.

Primary school children

· While primary school children are a bit aware of the basics, they have a lot of queries and questions at their age. Engage with them through simple conversations on basic hygiene and health manners.

· Make sure you don’t overburden them with complicated information, as it can go beyond their understanding capacity.

· Create interesting videos or cartoons to help them learn. Interactive medium of learning helps best at this stage. Ask them to keep away from strangers and avoid crowds.

· Washing hands should be taught at every age as it takes time to develop into a habit. Tell about the basic concepts of disease prevention and control.

· Explain how once they have sneezed on their clothes, they need to be disinfected. Also, how to convey the proper information to parents about their health.

Lower secondary school children:

· As you are dealing with a large spectrum of people under this category, it is necessary to understand that each group might need proper attention. First of all, answer to queries and questions raised by kids. Don’t brush these off, even if they sound stupid to you.

· Tell them about the symptoms, the difference between dry cough and cold. Make them understand about normal body temperature and when the body feels hot due to fever.

· Teach them about social distancing, the ideal distance and why it should be followed. Enlighten them about the virus, the transmission of virus, the history of pandemics and other advice. However, don’t get into complicated information.

· Encourage the kids to confront and prevent stigma by discussing the issues with the elders. Fear and stigma at this stage might make them uncomfortable as they try to find answers themselves. Maintain proper communication to avoid such a situation.

For upper secondary children

· They are quite grown up and able to understand a little complicated information. Share with them how a virus begins its transmission, how it can be avoided and what one should do if they have doubts about being infected.

· You can also ask them to talk to their younger siblings and help them understand the importance of washing hands by doing it together.

· Assigning easy projects on different kinds of viruses and their fatalities can make them understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.