Science and Compassion in the time of Coronavirus

What we are providing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak for adults and kids and how you can be a hero.

When I launched this site several years ago, I wanted to provide a resource for teachers that allowed them to connect what was happening in our world to their classroom; to explain science concepts and why they are relevant to the daily lives of their students. Tragically, there is nothing more topical right now than the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has swept across the world. The disease has already claimed thousands of lives and we will not likely see the peak of the outbreak for several more weeks if not months.

While we certainly could provide explainers on how the virus is transmitted or how pandemics like this spread, there is already plenty of great content out there that will have a far wider and deeper impact than anything our little website could put out. Instead, we are going to stick to what we already do well: curate quality trusted content that will help teachers, parents, and students stay up on their science education during social distancing. Visit or click on the first tab on our menu at the top of the page for free access. We will also be sharing videos from our sister site, Science Around Cincy, which has wonderful interviews with scientists on a wide variety of science topics. If there is a topic or concept you want us to prioritize, let us know. We will do our best to keep these pages updated throughout the coming weeks, giving everyone free access to quality tools that will help kids build upon their science knowledge.

But there’s something more important during this time than simply keeping up on school work. The coming weeks and months are going to be very difficult indeed and will involve more than just some disruptions to daily life. You will very likely know someone will get sick and it’s possible that you’ll know someone for whom it will become quite serious. There’s a lot of uncertainty and the worst-case scenarios are not only horrifying, but they are also possible. If you are a parent or student you’re scared of what’s going to happen, that’s okay.

I am scared too. 

Yet times when we feel the most afraid are the times we need to act with the greatest level of compassion. Coronavirus/COVID-19 could bring out the worst in us, but I believe it’s an opportunity to bring out the very best. You too can be a hero. And doing so is surprisingly easy.

  • Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands before you eat, after you go to the bathroom, after you sneeze or blow your nose, when you come back into the house, or if you haven’t done so in the last hour. Wipe down door handles, cell phones and other surfaces you touch a lot. Sneeze into your elbow and use hand sanitizer when you can. And don’t touch your face or pick your nose (although you probably shouldn’t do that regardless).
  • Cancel everything – This is probably the single best thing you can do to help prevent the spread of the disease. Don’t go to events and postpone your travel plans. Social distancing is going to be key in protecting people. Go to the grocery store during off-hours. If you have a favorite restaurant, don’t dine in; order carryout or buy a gift certificate. Please, please, please stay at home. You’ll be saving lives.
  • Stay home if you’re sick – 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild; you’ll feel like you’ve got the flu. But this is not the flu. It’s much more dangerous, especially to older people, smokers, or those who have an underlying respiratory condition. If you are running a fever or a cough, stay at home. If you’re getting shortness of breath, call your doctor immediately.
  • Be Prepared: There will likely be a point were parts of the country will be in a containment – no movement in and out of those areas with extreme social distancing measures. Will your region need a full lockdown? I don’t know, but it won’t hurt to be ready. Have a few weeks’ worth of dry goods in your house and fill any prescriptions you have now. Get some books, puzzles, or video games to break up the monotony. Don’t hoard toilet paper or facemasks (especially facemasks, healthcare professionals need them and we are woefully short).
  • Spread the word – Make sure the people around you are practicing good habits too. Share this post on social media or forward it to everyone you know. You don’t even have to give me credit!  It can make a difference between how wide and fast this spreads.
  • Check-in with at-risk people you know – This is a very scary time for people who are older, those who have respiratory issues, or anyone who is immunocompromised. See if you can pick them up some groceries while you’re at the store. It’s a tough time for healthcare workers too as they will be constantly exposed and likely be exhausted. Run an errand for them. Maybe bake them some cookies. Point is, take care of each other.

In addition to loving science, I am also a history geek. One of my favorite people to read about is Teddy Roosevelt, not just for his force of personality, but the things he stood for and how he changed his views over his lifetime. He was a man of his era a lot of ways, but he was also years ahead of his time. In thinking about how I can help during this unprecedented public health crisis, I am reminded now of his simple, yet brilliant quotes:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

It may not seem like much and it’s likely more than a little trite, but it’s so incredibly true for our moment. We’ve got rough waters ahead, no doubt, but small actions taken by everyone can have a monumental impact. Staying at home will save lives. Washing your hands could save yours.

We’ll get through this together.

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