Tag Archives: Coronavirus

How We Can Achieve Social Unity, With Social Distancing

“To combat the coronavirus, Americans need to do more than secure their own safety.” E. Klinenberg, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

A discarded medical glove on a subway grate in midtown Manhattan in New York City on Tuesday.Credit…Damon Winter:The New York Times

Excerpt: We Need Social Solidarity…By Dr. Eric Klinenberg, The New York Times

“Social distancing — canceling large gatherings, closing schools and offices, quarantining individuals and even sequestering entire cities or neighborhoods — seems to be the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But it’s a crude and costly public health strategy.

Some of the homeless people who camp near Washington’s Union Station feel isolated as foot traffic has decreased. (Michael S. Williamson:The Post)

Shuttering shared spaces and institutions means families lose child care, wages and social support.  What’s more, it’s insufficient to protect the older, sick, homeless and isolated people who are most vulnerable to the virus. They need extra care and attention to survive, not society’s back.

I learned this firsthand while studying another recent health crisis, the great Chicago heat wave of 1995. In that event, as in so many other American disasters, social isolation was a leading risk factor and social connections made the difference between life and death.

Tents of one of the many homeless men and women are set up at Dupont Circle in Washington. (Astrid Riecken for The Post)

In Chicago, social isolation among older people in poor, segregated and abandoned neighborhoods made the heat wave far more lethal than it should have been. Some 739 people died during one deadly week in July, even though saving them required little more than a cold bath or exposure to air-conditioning. There was plenty of water and artificial cooling available in the city that week. For the truly disadvantaged, however, social contact was in short supply. Good governments can mitigate damage during health crises by communicating clearly and honestly with the public and providing extra service and support to those in need…It’s chilling, how familiar this seems. And it’s disturbing, how little we’ve heard about helping the people and places most threatened by the coronavirus, about the ways in which, amid so much isolation, we can offer a hand.

Coronavirus concerns empty public spaces around the world-Boston Globe

In addition to social distancing, societies have often drawn on another resource to survive disasters and pandemics: social solidarity, or the interdependence between individuals and across groups.

A Flowershop Offeres Free Flowers To everyone.

This an essential tool for combating infectious diseases and other collective threats.

Solidarity motivates us to promote public health, not just our own personal security. It keeps us from hoarding medicine, toughing out a cold in the workplace or sending a sick child to school…Social solidarity leads to policies that benefit public well-being, even if it costs some individuals more. Consider paid sick leave.

A Brookline Principal reads bedtime stories to her young students

When governments guarantee it (as most developed democracies do), it can be a burden for employers and businesses. The United States does not guarantee it, and as a consequence many low-wage American workers, even in the food service industry, are on the job when they’re contagiously ill.”

Related Articles:

5 Ways to Help Your Community Combat Coronavirus (While Still Social Distancing)

“Instead of isolating, you can help your neighbors and community in these ways.” By Ria Misra, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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 2 hours.


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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about the Coronavirus.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming Map by rentonschools.us

 

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Many people are kept in quarantine.
  2. Entire cities or neighborhoods are being sequestered.
  3. But it’s a crude and costly public health strategy.
  4. Shuttering shared spaces and institutions means families lose child care, wages and social support.
  5. What’s more, it’s insufficient to protect the older, sick, homeless.
  6. Good governments can mitigate damage during health crises.
  7. Amid so much isolation, we can offer a hand.
  8. Societies have often drawn on another resource to survive disasters and pandemics: social solidarity.
  9. Societie have also drawn upon the interdependence between individuals and across groups.
  10. We should not be hoarding medicine, toughing out a cold in the workplace or sending a sick child to school.

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Social distancing  seems to be the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  2. But it’s a crude and costly public health strategy.
  3. We need to protect the older, sick, homeless and isolated people.

II

  1. Good governments can mitigate damage during health crises.
  2. Its chilling, how familiar this seems.
  3. It’s disturbing, how little we’ve heard about helping the people.

III

  1. Societies have often drawn on social solidarity to survive disasters.
  2. Solidarity motivates us to promote public health.
  3. Solidarity is a essential tool for combating infectious disease

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.Ifa statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false theymarkit F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. The Coronavirus is only in China and the U.S.
  2. Social distancing and canceling large gatherings,  is not the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  3. Keeping people separated seems to be a crude and costly public health strategy.
  4. Shuttering shared spaces and institutions means families lose child care, wages and social support.
  5. Young people who are most vulnerable to the virus.
  6. The author references  another health crisis that occurred in New York.
  7. According to the author, solidarity is an essential tool for combating infectious diseases.
  8. Social solidarity leads to people being lonely.
  9. The scientists expect the coronavirus to be over in 3 months.
  10. The United States does not guarantee paid sick leave, and as a consequence many low-wage American workers, even in the food service industry, are on the job when they’re contagiously ill.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main points from the article.

 

Topic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

 

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. How has the coronavirus outbreak affected you, your friends, family and community?
  2. Do you feel that we need more compassion and solidarity during this crises?
  3. Name several  good things that solidarity motivates us to do for others.
  4. According to the article who are the most vulnerable people?
  5. It’s stated that, “As Covid-19 spreads, we’ll continue to see more people asked to work remotely or from home, more school closings, more canceled events, and other measures associated with social distancing.”
  6. Do you have  plans of how you intend to remain in touch with family and friends. In addition, make a list of things you, your friends and family could do to help others in need.
  7. After reading this article name at least one thing new that you’ve learned about the Coronavirus situation. Discuss what you’ve learned with your group members and share as a class.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas 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. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

The Impact of the Coronavirus on Students Around the World

“The global scale and speed of the educational disruption from the coronavirus epidemic is unparalleled.” The United Nations

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

image-13abc

 

Excerpt: ‘When Can We Go to School?’By Vivian Wang and Makiko Inoue, The New York Times

“The coronavirus epidemic has reached deeper into daily life across the world, with a sweeping shutdown of all schools in Italy, a suspension of classes in India’s capital and warnings of school closures in the United States, intensifying the educational upheaval of nearly 300 million students globally.

Only a few weeks ago, China, where the outbreak began, was the only country to suspend classes. But the virus has spread so quickly that by Wednesday, 22 countries on three continents had announced school closures of varying degrees… Students are now out of school in South Korea, Iran, Japan, France, Pakistan and elsewhere — some for only a few days, others for weeks on end…On the West Coast of the United States, the region with the most American infections so far, Los Angeles declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, advising parents to steel themselves for school closures in the nation’s second-largest public school district. Washington State, which has reported at least 10 deaths from the outbreak, has closed some schools, while on the other side of the country in New York, newly diagnosed cases have led to the closure of several schools as well. 

The speed and scale of the educational tumult — which now affects 290.5 million students worldwide, the United Nations says — has little parallel in modern history, educators and economists contend…In some countries, older students have missed crucial study sessions for college admissions exams, while younger ones have risked falling behind in reading and math. Parents have lost wages, tried to work at home or scrambled to find child care… In Hong Kong, families like Ms. Gao’s have struggled to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

Ms. Gao, 48, stopped working to watch her daughters and started scrimping on household expenses. She ventures outside just once a week and spends the most time helping her girls, 10 and 8, with online classes, fumbling through technology that leaves her confused and her daughters frustrated.

Governments are trying to help. Japan is offering subsidies to help companies offset the cost of parents’ taking time off. France has promised 14 days of paid sick leave to parents of children who must self-isolate, if they have no choice but to watch their children. But the burdens are widespread, touching corners of society seemingly unconnected to education. In Japan, schools have canceled bulk food deliveries for lunches they will no longer serve, hurting farmers and suppliers. In Hong Kong, an army of domestic helpers has been left unemployed after wealthy families enrolled their children in schools overseas.

Julia Bossard, a 39-year-old mother of two in France, said she had been forced to rethink her entire routine since her older son’s school was closed for two weeks for disinfection. Her days now consist of helping her children with homework and scouring supermarkets for fast-disappearing pasta, rice and canned food. ‘We had to reorganize ourselves,’ she said.

Online Help for Schools

School and government officials have sought to keep children learning — and occupied — at home.  The Italian government created a web page to give teachers access to videoconference tools and ready-made lesson plans. Mongolian television stations are airing classes. Iran’s government has made all children’s internet content free…The offline reality, though, is challenging.Technological hurdles and unavoidable distractionspop up when children and teenagers are left to their own devices — literally. Thira Pang, a 17-year-old high school student in Hong Kong, has been repeatedly late for class because her internet connection is slow… With the closings, families must rethink how they support themselves and split household responsibilities.

The burden has fallen particularly hard on women, who across the world are still largely responsible for child care… Working from home was never an option for Ms. Lee…Ms. Lee’s son spends each weekday alone, eating lunchboxes of sausage and kimchi fried rice premade by Ms. Lee.  ‘I think I would have quit my job if my son were younger, because I wouldn’t have been able to leave him alone at home,’ Ms. Lee said.

Beyond the Classroom

The epidemic has shaken entire industries that rely on the rituals of students in school and parents at work…Kazuo Tanaka, deputy director of the Yachimata School Lunch Center in central Japan, said it scrapped orders for ingredients to make about 5,000 lunches for 13 schools. It would cost the center about 20 million yen, nearly $200,000, each month that school was out, he said…’Dairy farmers and vegetable farmers will be hit. The workers at the school lunch centers cannot work.’

In Hong Kong, many among its sizable population of domestic helpers have been jobless as affluent parents have enrolled children overseas…Felix Choi, the director of Babysitter.hk, a nanny service. Now some expatriate families have left the city rather than wait out the closings.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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 2 hours.


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

KWL Chart

The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about the Coronavirus.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

K-W-L Chart from Creately.com

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The coronavirus epidemic has reached deeper into daily life across the world.
  2. China, where the outbreak began, was the only country to suspend classes.
  3. Parents were advised  to steel themselves for school closures.
  4. The speed and scale of the educational tumult has little parallel  in modern history.
  5. Closing schools for weeks or even months could have untold repercussions for children.
  6. Ms. Gao, 48, started scrimping on household expenses.
  7. She ventures outside just once a week to shop.
  8. Japan is offering subsidies to help companies offset the cost of parents’ taking time off.
  9. Many  schools were closed for disinfection.
  10. One family in Inner Mongolia packed up its yurt and migrated elsewhere.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

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.

Some interruptions/interruption are unavoidable. Posts on Chinese social media show teacher/teachers and students/student climbing into/onto rooftops or hovering over/outside neighbors’ homes in/on search of a stronger internet signal. Onefamily/families in Inner Mongolia packed up its yurtand migrated elsewhere in the grasslands for a/an better web connection, a/an Chinese magazine reported.

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken 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.

Ruby Tan, a___ in Chongqing, a ___in southwestern China that___ school last month, said many ___were helping with child care so that the ___can go to work.But the ___do not always know the___.

They don’t have any way of ___the children’s learning, and instead let them develop bad ___of not being able to focus during___time, Ms. Tan said.

WORD LIST: study, habits, technology, grandparents, parents, grandparents, suspended, city, teacher, supervising,

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

  1. Has the outbreak of the coronavirus affected you and your family? If yes explain in what way.
  2. Is your school closed or is planning to close?
  3. Will your school hold online classes? How do you feel about this?
  4. The article states, “Schools provide structure and support for families, communities and entire economies. The effect of closing them for days, weeks and sometimes even months could have untold repercussions for children and societies at large.” What kind of  effects might children suffer if kept out of class for too long? How might this effect societies?
  5. What are some of the things governments are doing to help teachers and students keep up with their studies?
  6. What are some of the problems with children left to study on their own or with grandparents?
  7. How are some of the world’s  governments helping families financially?
  8. The article mentions that women particularly have felt the burden of school closings. Why is this?
  9. List 3 questions that you  would like to pursue in relation to  the article. Exchange questions with other groups and try to come up with answers.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to also write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY