Coronavirus drives parents to demand school closures

At least two content providers released learning materials to help teachers explain coronavirus and other infectious diseases to their students
By: | March 4, 2020
Students are getting tips on how to fight coronavirus and COVID-19 from these posters created for schools by the Snohomish Health District in Washington.Students are getting tips on how to fight coronavirus and COVID-19 from these posters created for schools by the Snohomish Health District in Washington.

Fears of coronavirus and COVID-19 have driven parents in several Seattle-area cities to petition their district administrators to close schools, MyNorthwest.com reported.

Nearly 14,000 people have signed a petition asking the Lake Washington School District to close because it operates schools near the nursing home seen as ground zero for coronavirus in the region, according to MyNorthwest.com.

A petition in Bellevue has received 10,000 signatures, MyNorthwest.com reported.

And in the Everett School District, where a high school student was diagnosed with coronavirus last week and is now recovering, 1,600 parents have signed the online petition asking administrators to close schools until “we understand the full impact of coronavirus,” MyNorthwest.com reported.


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“The key to this whole thing is communication, this is about overcommunicating with your public,” Everett Superintendent Ian Saltzman told District Administration on Tuesday. “You can plan for a hurricane or an earthquake or a tornado, but a virus is a little different. This has never happened before.”

But some experts are already questioning how effective school closures are.

Calming COVID-19 anxiety

One of the nation’s largest districts, Broward County Public Schools in Florida, is planning its response to coronavirus on several fronts, Local10.com reported.

Superintendent Robert Runcie told the county school board that the district could turn to online textbooks, packets of take-home work or its Broward Virtual University service, should schools have to close due to widespread quarantines.

The district has also canceled all international field trips for the foreseeable future.

School nurses, meanwhile, can help alleviate anxiety among students whose families have been glued to news coverage of coronavirus, CNN reported.

“Children respond to that,” Donna Mazyck, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses, told CNN.

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Mazyck urged educators and families to focus on facts and that it’s important to keep “the conversation on what we can do rather than perseverating on information that doesn’t change but can cause fear,” according to CNN.

How to add coronavirus to your curriculum

At least two major content and ed tech providers announced this week how they plan to support schools during coronavirus outbreaks.

Discovery Education on Tuesday added a Viruses and Outbreaks Channel to its Discovery Education Experience to help teachers explain coronavirus and other infections diseases to their students.

The content covers what viruses are, how they’re spread and how to stay healthy. The channel also provides coronavirus updates.

K12 Inc.. meanwhile, released a fact sheet describing how its services could be used for online and remote learning.