Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Lesson Plans

News Roundup: COVID-19 hits records but there is hope in sight

December 6, 2020

Full Lesson



Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Have students record what they found most significant in the summaries and ask them what they’d like to learn more about. For a transcript of the video, click here

Summary of the top news: The U.S. hit new milestones with the coronavirus this week with record numbers of hospitalizations and deaths and a medical staffing system that’s burning out.

  • Some regions are seeing numbers of hospitalizations high enough that they’re rationing care, which means having to decide which patients they have the resources to care for. Authorities are concerned about continued travel over the holidays.
  • Still, there are hopeful signs in the development of effective vaccines that may be available to frontline medical workers in the next couple of weeks and then the general public within months of the new year.

Also in the news:


Warm up questions: 

  1. Who is likely to get the first vaccines produced in the U.S.?
  2. What is the reason that vaccines are not already widely available if they’ve been proven effective?
  3. Where and when are COVID-19 cases increasing quickly?
  4. Why are COVID-19 numbers increasing so rapidly?
  5. How has President Trump tried to contest the results of the election?

Focus questions:

  1. What do you think local and national authorities should do to keep COVID-19 counts down and hospitals from being overwhelmed while the country waits for a vaccine?
  2. Do you think the transition in presidential administrations will affect the nation’s COVID-19 response? In what ways, if so?

Media literacy: What news do you think was most important from this summary? What important news are you aware of that was left out?

Additional resources

  • Why is the stock market soaring while so many continue to struggle financially during the pandemic? Discuss using this story.
  • Why are potential vaccines in such limited supply and who decides who gets them first? Find out using this story.
  • Research for one of the most promising vaccines was partly funded by…Dolly Parton? Yes, Dolly Parton. Use this lesson to discuss how one successful artist gives back.


Follow us:





PBS NewsHour education stories newsletter

Updates for EXTRA’s Super Civics 2020 election teaching resources doc

Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.