“In a now-viral video, hundreds of students and teachers gathered to welcome two Ukrainian children, refugees of war, on their first day of school in Naples, Italy…But there was also this sign that their well-being will be paramount in their new school — every student, teacher, and staff member wore a face mask. So did the two children.” R. Graham, The Boston Globe, March 19, 2022
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: No, COVID Isn’t Over, By Renee Graham, The Boston Globe, March 19, 2022
“This was an unintentional but pointed reminder: The COVID-19 pandemic is not over…Businesses nationwide have dropped proof-of-vaccination requirements for customers. Those home COVID tests that were impossible to find in December (and were exorbitantly expensivewhen available) are plentiful again on drugstore shelves.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, hasn’t been a regular on TV in weeks. And with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vicious invasion of Ukraine dominating headlines, cable news stations’ once-daily parade of medical professionals has been supplanted by retired generals and foreign policy experts…Americans moving on from COVID doesn’t mean COVID has moved on from us… Waning vaccine immunity remains a concern. Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a second booster shot for those 65 and older…What other countries are enduring will find its way here. We’ve seen this pattern before, and the CDC is already reporting an uptick of COVID-19 in wastewater samples nationwide.
‘Everybody wants to return to normal, everybody wants to put the virus behind us in the rearview mirror, which is, I think, what we should aspire to,’ Fauci said recently. Even if the virus seems to be subsiding here, he warned, ‘we have gone in the right direction in four other variants’ only to have COVID come roaring back again with horrific results.’
COVID is still here, but what seems to be all but gone is the leadership on every level to do everything possible to eradicate it.”
The BA.2 subvariant of Omicron accounts for over half of new U.S. coronavirus cases, the C.D.C. estimates. By Adeel Hassan, The New York Times, March 30, 2022
“The highly contagious Omicron subvariant known as BA.2, which led to a surge of coronavirus cases in Europe, is now the dominant version of the virus in new U.S. cases, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. Examine any photos, then create a list of words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Hundreds of students and teachers gathered to welcome two Ukrainian children, refugees of war.
- It was a stirring moment to watch this brother and sister, who had lost so much in their homeland, being embraced in a new country.
- But there was also this sign that their well-being will be paramount in their new school as every person present wore a face mask. So did the two children.
- This was an unintentional but pointed reminder: The COVID-19 pandemic is not over.
- When Hawaii ends its indoor mask mandate on March 26, it will be the last state to do so.
- Those home COVID tests that were impossible to find in December (and were exorbitantly expensive when available) are plentiful again.
- With the invasion of the Ukraine the daily feedback by medical professionals has been supplanted by retired generals and foreign policy experts.
- At his recent State of the Union speech where most in attendance were unmasked, President Biden took a cautious victory lap.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 66 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
- Vaccination rates have flatlined.
Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
Yet what we keeping/keep hearing is/are that we’re/were getting back to normally/normal. And this is what ‘normal’ looks like — at less/least 1,000 people a day/days perishing from COVID; American vaccine/vaccinated interest that has/have fallen off a cliff; and persistent vaccine inequality/equality and lack of access around the world.
Reading Comprehension Fill-ins
Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.
Waning___ immunity remains a___. Pfizer and ___are seeking emergency___ from the ___Administration for a second___ shot for those ___and older. That recommendation will probably extend to ___people as well, because existing ___protection was not as___ when ___became the dominant___.
WORD LIST: Omicron, robust, vaccine, younger, 65, Food and Drug, authorization, booster, vaccine, concern, BioNTech, variant
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Were you or someone you know affected by COVID-19?
- Do you believe that COVID-19 and the variants are gone and we can now get back to a normal life?
- What does a “normal” life means to you?
- In Naples, Italy how did everyone know that COVID-19 was still present?
- According to the article which state will be the last to end its indoor mask mandate?
- What other signs are there that people feel that the COVID-19 pandemic is over?
- Who is Dr. Anthony Fauci? Why is he important to the U.S.?
- Who made the following statement and why? “Thanks to the progress we’ve made in the past year, COVID-19 no longer need control our lives,.”
- Approximately how many people have died from the virus world wide? According to the article, how many Americans will have died by the end of April 2022?
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately what percentage of Americans have been vaccinated?
- What is the name of the newest subvariant? Why is the variant considered more dangerous than the others?
- After reading this article, have any of your views about COVID-19 changed? Have your ideas about what is “normal” changed? Why or why not?
- List three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you would like to know that the article did not mention. Share your responses with your class.