A message regarding coronavirus

Coronavirus illustration by CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

March 2020 … We at Healthy NewsWorks hope that you and your family are safe and well as the spread of a coronavirus brings many changes to all our lives.

To counter the virus, factual information is the most critical resource. The messages are often scattered, incomplete, conflicting, abstract. But seeking out and listening to trustworthy experts can help cut through the noise.

Healthy NewsWorks has been working to help elementary and middle school student health reporters understand what the virus is, how they can find accurate information about it, and what they can do to help keep it from affecting them and their families.

Some of the specific steps we and our young journalists have taken include:

  • Creating a new lesson specifically about the coronavirus which has now been delivered in several classrooms.
  • Interviewing two public health experts via videoconference.
  • Creating  public service posters in several schools, highlighting handwashing and other concrete steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the virus.

As of mid-March, all schools in Pennsylvania have shut down for at least two weeks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. While Healthy NewsWorks will be unable to deliver its in-person programming to  journalists at this time, we will be reaching out in other ways, using fact-based reporting to build health awareness.

We are exploring ways our reporters can engage with technology to continue to provide health information to other kids and their community. We welcome your ideas about topics, experts, and audiences we should reach at this time. Please send your thoughts to me by email at muhlman@healthynewsworks.org.

This is a moment when our mission focused on empowering these students to become researchers, writers, critical thinkers, and confident communicators feels especially important. We are confident that the reporters who have been in our program are better equipped to find and act on the most accurate information and effective measures within their reach.

When we’re all back in school, we’re certain the students will have a lot to say about what they’ve learned and experienced through this period.

—Marian Uhlman, Healthy NewsWorks Executive Director

Making Sense of the Virus


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