Talking to Children about the Coronavirus

Talking to Children about the Coronavirus

SFUSD students, families, and school communities continue to manage the impact of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, on our daily lives. For the most recent updates and resources from SFUSD regarding the virus, please visit our website to stay informed.

Ongoing developments regarding COVID-19 may be overwhelming, especially to younger children. Parents and caregivers can help children understand the situation better by discussing their concerns. School health officials recommend speaking honestly with children. Short, clear conversations can validate children’s feelings and give them information that will help them understand important facts as well as decrease their anxiety.

Limiting television and online news consumption for young children can also give them the space they need to protect themselves from the constant stream of information about the virus. Much of the information on the news does not help in understanding the virus itself or steps being taken to keep children and families safe. The sensationalizing that occurs via media can actually add to stress and feelings of uncertainty.

It is natural to be concerned, and it is also important for all of us to know the facts so that we can make informed decisions about how to protect ourselves and others in our community. 

KQED has created a resource designed to help students identify misinformation and interpret science reporting, which is a useful skill to have as we continue to learn more about COVID-19 every day.

The Child Mind Institute has created resources to help parents and caregivers navigate conversations about COVID-19 with children. Talking to children to help them with their anxieties is important, but it is also essential that as adults we manage our own anxieties.

Right now, health officials are reporting that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and its symptoms are similar to the flu. There are still many things you can do to limit the spread of COVID-19:

Modeling best hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices can strengthen and protect your immune system to prevent you from contracting the virus and from spreading it to others. This includes washing your hands thoroughly, coughing or sneezing into a tissue, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular sleep and exercise.

Limiting social exposure for vulnerable populations is currently recommended by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH). Vulnerable populations are people 60 years old and older; and people with health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weakened immune system. Learn more about this recommendation by reading DPH’s FAQs here

SFUSD and public health officials continue to work hand in hand to keep our students healthy and safe. Children — and their guardians alike — should know that there are many people working to protect them during this time and always. 

View all SFUSD updates and resources related to COVID-19.