By Aysha Craig, Copy Editor
// As COVID-19 panic continues to spread, unreliable sources plague the internet with fake news and false alarms; in a time of social isolation, the media is increasingly important in keeping people updated and access to accurate information grows more critical. In an effort to educate students and provide them with valid information about COVID-19, Acalanes High School offered webinars to interested Living Earth students.
University of California Irvine (UCI) medical students held three Zoom meetings last week to inform students about the nature of COVID-19 and how people should respond to the virus moving forward.
Austin Franklin, a medical student and a 2013 Acalanes graduate, brought up the idea of teaching students about COVID-19 to the Living Earth teachers as part of a community outreach project at UCI.
“I jumped at the chance to have the medical students do this and worked with them to get their PowerPoint and topics organized for Living Earth kids,” Living Earth teacher Lori Tewksbury said.
Franklin and his group held the first Zoom on Monday at 1:30 p.m. regarding viruses and pandemics in general.
“I think this program is beneficial because it directly links lessons we have studied in our class with current events. It is a real-world application of the material we have learned this year,” Living Earth teacher Thomas McNamara said.
On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., the medical students discussed the specifics of COVID-19 and testing options. During the final meeting on Friday at 1:30 p.m., they discussed vaccines and options to help prevent the virus.
After each presentation, students used the chat feature on Zoom to engage in a question and answer period with the medical students.
“My favorite part of the Zoom presentation was probably the question and answer portion because it furthered what the speakers were talking about and it brought up new topics to be discussed,” Living Earth student Joy Baker said.
Conducting the presentations through Zoom easily allowed interested students and teachers to join the discussions.
“The Zoom platform turned out to be the perfect platform to reach more students and spread the information more widely and make a bigger impact,” Franklin said.
Along with serving the community, Franklin and the other medical students wanted to provide trustworthy information that the viewers could later spread to others.
“My biggest concern is the amount of misinformation there is about COVID-19 out there. I think that teaching these students definitely helps spread awareness on the topic and hopefully helps create knowledgeable peers that can then go and educate their friends,” Franklin said.
Overall, the medical students wanted the viewers to understand more about COVID-19 and how to be better equipped should future pandemics occur.
“At the end of the day, I hope we left the students with a better understanding of why our daily lives have had to change and what we can all do moving forward to protect others and save lives,” medical student Andrew Keown said.
Watch the recap below!