Daily Video

March 12, 2020

Coronavirus update: Health questions, Trump’s speech, schools’ response


Directions: Read the summary, watch a few minutes of President Trump’s address on the coronavirus and answer the questions. Use the “CC” (closed-captions) function. If time allows, read NewsHour’s: What you need to know about Trump’s novel coronavirus response. If you would like to learn how schools and colleges are preparing for the coronavirus, see the extension activities at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you may want to take a look at this story: What WHO doctor says Americans should do in face of COVID-19 pandemic

Teacher’s note: If you’re worried about missing class for the coronavirus, check out this list of PBS resources that cover a variety of subjects. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback. Email Vicky at vpasquantonio@newshour.org

To learn more about the coronavirus and how schools can help prepare, read Coronavirus: Multilingual Resources for Schools by PBS’ Colorin Colorado. Also, check out NewsHour’s Your guide to understanding COVID-19.


Summary: President Trump addressed the nation about novel coronavirus March 11, announcing new travel restrictions and a series of economic relief measures. Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization designated COVID-19 a global pandemic. Trump announced the U.S. is cutting off travel from Europe except for American citizens and legal permanent residents returning home. He also said the government is looking to ease the economic risks of a pandemic that is causing disturbances in global financial markets and disrupting American’s daily lives.

Discussion questions:

  1. Essential question: How should political leaders respond to a pandemic like the coronavirus?
  2. What actions is the U.S. government taking in response to the novel coronavirus, according to Trump’s statement?
  3. In this address, Trump said major health insurance companies agreed to waive copayments for coronavirus treatments and extend insurance to make sure treatments are included. However, health insurers pushed back saying the agreement did not include treatment, which the Trump administration later acknowledged was true.
    • Do you think treatment should be covered by health insurance companies?
    • What about the tens of millions of Americans who do not have health insurance?
    • What needs to happen for health insurance companies to cover treatment of the coronavirus? (answer: act of Congress needs to be passed)
  4. What questions do you have about the coronavirus? How could you find answers to these questions, if you are not sure? (Start with NewsHour’s coverage here and here.)
  5. What is your school or community saying about preparations for the coronavirus? Do you feel you are getting all the information you need? Explain.
  6. What should you do if you are feeling worried about the coronavirus? Who can you talk to?
  7. Media literacy: According to Snopes, at a campaign rally in South Carolina a couple of weeks ago, “Donald Trump likened the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the new coronavirus outbreak to their efforts to impeach him, saying “this is their new hoax.” Right-leaning outlets are also playing down the threat of the coronavirus.
    • Why do you think they are taking this approach?
    • Do you think this approach will shift as threats of the coronavirus become clearer
    • How would you advise news media outlets to report on the government’s response of the coronavirus including Trump’s remarks, given the partisan nature of the president’s language?

Extension activities: Video and discussion questions

Take a look at these two stories to learn how schools and colleges are handling the coronavirus. Ask your students: What should the response be from schools and colleges to the coronavirus? How is your school handling preparations for the coronavirus? What are some suggestions for schools that do not have easy access to the internet outside school hours?

  1. A growing number of U.S. schools, including several colleges and universities, are shutting their doors to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Although only a small fraction of public elementary and high schools have closed, more than 430,000 students are affected already. John Yang talks to Michelle Reid, superintendent of Washington state’s Northshore School District, about the decision to close. Read the transcript here.


2. A growing number of U.S. schools, including several colleges and universities, are shutting their doors to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Although only a small fraction of public elementary and high schools have closed, more than 430,000 students are affected already. Amna Nawaz talks to James Ryan, president of the University of Virginia. Read the transcript here.


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? If you think you have a good idea for a NewsHour Extra “Student Voice” post, write Victoria Pasquantonio at vpasquantonio@newshour.org. We’d love to hear from you!


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