COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Issue: June 2020
Disclosures: O'Donnell, Swaminathan and ter Muelen report no relevant financial disclosures.
May 21, 2020
1 min read

Smithsonian, WHO launch interactive COVID-19 guide for kids

Issue: June 2020
Disclosures: O'Donnell, Swaminathan and ter Muelen report no relevant financial disclosures.
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The Smithsonian Science Education Center collaborated with WHO and the InterAcademy Partnership to create a guide for children aged 8 to 17 years to help them better understand the science and social science behind COVID-19 and learn how to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe.

The guide is titled, “COVID-19! How Can I Protect Myself and Others?

The project “makes science exciting and approachable for children and youth all over the world and encourages them to learn by doing,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, MD, MNAMS, said in a news release. “With all the myths and misconceptions out there, it is important for children and youth to understand the nature of this pandemic and what can be done to prevent future pandemics from happening”

WHO also collaborated recently on a children’s book to help children cope with the pandemic. The new guide consists of seven student-led tasks, each driven by a question that children may have about COVID-19:

  1. What is happening in the world right now?
  2. How can keeping distance from others help?
  3. How can covering our noses and mouths help protect us?
  4. How can washing our hands help protect us?
  5. How is COVID-19 impacting families and communities?
  6. How can staying informed about the problem help?
  7. What actions can I take right now?

“It is so important for children — wherever they are in the world — to develop their scientific understanding and rational thinking,” InterAcademy Partnership President Volker ter Meulen, MD, said in the release. “Only by being able to make rational decisions based on the best science and evidence can any of us adjust our behavior to keep ourselves and our families safe from infections such as COVID-19.”

All of the tasks are designed for at-home completion. The guide includes updated research, activities and quotes from scientists and frontline health officials. It is free and currently is available in 12 languages, with nine more on the way.

“We are immensely grateful to WHO, the IAP, our colleagues at the Smithsonian and other senior project advisors and translators for their perspectives and technical support in ensuring the science is accurate,” Smithsonian Science Education Center Director Carol O’Donnell, PhD, said in the release.