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Lesson Plans

How young people feel about the coronavirus

March 14, 2020

Full Lesson



Directions: Students across PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL) network were asked what information they’ve heard regarding the coronavirus. Watch one of the four videos (or all four–they’re short!) and answer the questions below. Use the “CC” (closed-captions) function to help you follow along.

Special announcement! Give your students the tools to become citizen journalists and help them to process information they’re confronting about COVID-19. First, check out SRL’s “Making Sense of Coronavirus Through Media and Storytelling” curriculum now online at PBS Learning Media. Then register for this free webinar on Tues. March 17 at 7pm full of great video tips and conversation with PBS producers and fellow educators.



Discussion questions:

  1. Essential question: Why is it important to hear from young people about the coronavirus?
  2. What did you learn from the video(s) that you didn’t know before?
  3. Why do you think Student Reporting Labs (SRL) chose to cover the coronavirus this way?
  4. What is the plan for your school in the next few weeks? How do you feel about it?
  5. Have you heard someone make a derogatory remark about the coronavirus to another person? Why do you think people make such comments during a health crisis (this has been the case throughout US history when it comes to pandemics–the need to blame someone). What could you do to make the person who was name-called feel supported?
  6. What do you think should happen for the majority of public schools across the country that do no have access to online learning tools or internet infrastructure at school or students’ homes? Should the state or federal government step into help? Why or why not? If you were in charge, what would you do?
  7. Media literacy: Student Reporting Labs asked students from across the country to share their thoughts on current events and issues.
    • What skills do you think it takes to be a student reporter? Do you think these skills are different from an adult reporter? Explain. What challenges might youth journalists face that adult journalists may not face? What might be some advantages to being a younger reporter?
    • What is meant by the term citizen journalist? If you were interested in reporting on how coronavirus is affecting your community, what steps would you take to make it happen?

Extension activity:

Ask your students: What do you think NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff meant by the following statement? How could you show your best qualities during this time?


For monthly updates containing teacher resources on Election 2020, click here. Sign up for short education highlights from the PBS NewsHour here.


Extra, extra read all about! You may have heard the term “student voice” in school or over social media. What does student voice mean to you? See NewsHour Extra’s specific opportunity in tweet below to write about the coronavirus’s effects on schools and young people on our Student Voice blog. Write Victoria at with any questions.