COVID-19 Classroom is designed to give children the opportunity to learn about Coronavirus in an interactive and developmentally-appropriate way. The elementary curriculum is divided into two sections: one for children in grades 1-3, and the other geared toward children in grades 4-6. Whether you work through these modules together with your child or allow them to explore the material on their own, we hope you find COVID-19 Classroom a useful resource to talk with your child about COVID-19 and the new changes in your family’s routine (why school is closed, why sports practice has been cancelled, why mom or dad may be working from home now, etc.) It is important to ask your children what they know, and where they heard that information. Encourage them to ask their own questions as they work through the curriculum, and remind them that no question is silly, and we all want to learn. Give them permission to express their emotions by asking them how they are feeling and what they're worried about or afraid of.
The COVID-19 Classroom elementary curriculum is based on the Coloring for COVID-19 “Germ Busters vs. Coronavirus” coloring book. Many coloring pages are embedded within the curriculum. You may print out each page one at a time as your child works through the learning materials online, or print out all images in advance in a workbook format here: https://www.coloringforcovid.com
We’ve also provided additional information about the virus below, to help you answer questions your child may have as they work through the COVID-19 Classroom curriculum.
- COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2 and sometimes referred to as a “novel coronavirus,” is a member of the coronavirus family of viruses.
- The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to countries all throughout the world. In March 2020, the World Health Organization classified the spread of COVID-19 as a pandemic based on its global transmission.
- COVID-19 is spread person-to-person through droplet transmission. These respiratory droplets enter the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or breathes. It is currently believed that the virus can spread distances up to 6 feet between people.
- Persons infected with COVID-19 can have different presentations, ranging from being asymptomatic to showing severe respiratory symptoms. The most commonly reported symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and diarrhea in children.
- So far, there is no evidence that children are at an increased risk for becoming sick with COVID-19 when compared with adults. The symptoms of COVID-19 can be similar in both children and adults, with children often having less severe symptoms.
Ways to Stay Healthy and Safe (adapted from the CDC How to Protect Yourself & Others and MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds 7 Ways to Support Kids and Teens Through the Coronavirus Pandemic)
- Wash your hands often. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. To estimate 20 seconds, have your child sing the “Happy Birthday” song two times (or another one of their favorite tunes). If you’re on the go and away from soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Stay home as much as possible and avoid large groups of people. Limit unnecessary travel as well as trips to the grocery store, parks, or restaurants whenever possible. Since COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person over distances of 6 feet or less, this practice, sometimes called physical or social distancing, is meant to slow the spread of the virus.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth or mask when you are out in public. The CDC now recommends using cloth covers or masks as a way for you to protect the people around you, even if you may not feel sick. Do not use cloth coverings for children under 2 years old or for people who have trouble breathing. For more information, click here.
- Talk with your kids about COVID-19. COVID-19 has provoked worry and stress in many people, and children are no exception. Try to calmly begin a conversation with your child and see what they may already know about COVID-19. Ask them what questions they have before or after completing the COVID-19 Classroom modules. Provide reassurance that no question is silly or unimportant. You may also consider asking them to tell a story about the virus: “How has coronavirus affected your family or daily life?”
- Validate your child’s feelings of worry or sadness. These are normal reactions. Encourage your child to talk with you or another trusted adult when they feel scared or confused. Other ways for them to process their feelings might include writing in a journal or drawing. For additional age-specific tips about supporting your child during this difficult time, check out this great resource:
- Set a daily routine at home. This could include time set aside for individual play, reading, family time, quiet time, or getting some fresh air. Consistent bedtimes and wake-up times may also help to establish a “new normal” for your child. Talk with your child to see how the adjustment to staying at home is going.
- Encourage your child to stay involved in school through reading, completing worksheets, watching educational TV shows, or staying connected with classmates over video chat