BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new online curriculum from Johns Hopkins University aims to teach kids the science and biology of COVID-19 to help them learn how to stop the spread of the virus.

Johns Hopkins pulmonary physician Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos developed the curriculum after getting calls from Baltimore teachers who were struggling to help students understand everything that’s going on with the coronavirus.

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“We’re like, ‘You know, we have resources; we could pull this together and make this COVID-19 curriculum more of like an advocacy curriculum where these young adults can learn about not just information about the virus but make it actionable,” Galiatsatos said.


From there, it became a Hopkins-wide initiative to help students become ambassadors and make an impact in their communities. Now, it’s going to other East Coast through a partnership with Usher’s New Look, a nonprofit that works with under-resourced youth in New York City and Atlanta.

“It’s critical that we get quality information from Doctor G and other experts to arm our students to go out and be those trusted voices the community needs,” Geoff Streat, the group’s chief operating officer, said.

The Hopkins Health Education and Teaching Corps curriculum is broken up into four sessions and includes lessons on the physics behind face masks, mathematical models of the pandemic and the chemistry of handwashing and sanitizer.

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With no vaccine currently available, their goal is to put students on the front lines to help stop the spread.

“It is meeting the students where they are and it is empowering them to being their own decision-makers,” Dr. Anne Anderson, the deputy director of the Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, said.

Neil La-Mothe is one of the students who is taking part.

“Educating myself on science… is something I love to do,” La-Mothe said. “(It) was really helpful to spread awareness of the pandemic so we can save more lives.”

While the program just launched, Hopkins is hoping to take it nationwide by partnering with school systems and nonprofits.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Kelsey Kushner