COVID-19 Information for ELL and Multilingual Families
These multilingual resources can help schools and communities communicate more effectively with families of English language learners and immigrant students about COVID-19.
Sharing COVID-19 Updates ELLs and Immigrant Students
It is essential to continue sharing information about COVID-19 with English language learner (ELL) and immigrant families, especially as it changes. Key topics include:
- Basic information about the virus, how it spreads, and who it most affects, such as the elderly and people with certain underlying health risks
- What to do if you are sick
- Preventative measures such as hand-washing, not touching your face, and staying home if you are sick
- Information about social distancing
Here are some strategies to support that effort:
- Ensure that students are receiving reminders on preventative measures regularly.
- Encourage teachers to use visuals, videos, and demonstrations with ELLs on steps like hand washing and that they check students' understanding of that information.
- Ensure that families receive this key information as well. Keep in mind that families will have different preferences on how they wish to communicate:
- Phone calls, texts, and social media: Many families may prefer to communicate via phone, text, or social media instead of email. They may also be sharing regular updates with their own networks through these channels.
- Translated information: Many COVID-19 resources have already been translated into other languages. Check with your local public health office to see if they have information serving the immigrant families in your community. We have also compiled multilingual resources below. Note: Families with lower levels of literacy may not be able to read written hand-outs. Making information available in a variety of forms will increase families' access.
- Community networks and media outlets: Some immigrant communities may have robust communication networks within parent groups, with local organizations, or through media outlets in their language. Collaborating with these networks can provide a valuable two-way benefit both in sharing information and learning more about families' questions, concerns, and ideas.
Health, safety, and basic needs: Considerations for immigrant families
It's important to keep in mind the following:
- some immigrant families may not have access to medical care, insurance, or sick leave
- lost wages in the event of school or business closures, along with reduced access to school meals for children, may have a significant impact on families' stability
- many families may live with grandparents or other older relatives.
Learn more from the following:
- How COVID-19 Is Impacting ELL/Immigrant Families
- Addressing Immigrant Students' Basic Needs
- Working with Community Organizations on Behalf of ELLs
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Coronavirus Resource Center
This resource center is now available in multiple languages.
Fact sheets and poster center
Coronavirus fact sheets are now available in multiple languages.
More resources from the CDC
It's important that schools share accurate information about coronavirus with all school staff and families, including families of English learners. These resources include multilingual fact sheets and infographics.
- COVID-19: Multilingual Infographics for Schools (Orange County, CA Health Care Agency)
- COVID-19: Fact sheets and infographics in multiple languages (Orange County, NC)
- Coronavirus Alert Sign: English, Spanish, and Chinese-Simplified (California Department of Public Health)
- COVID-19 Resource Section in Spanish (California Department of Public Health)
- Coronavirus: Explainer graphics in English (Partners in Health)
- Coronavirus: Staying Healthy (American Federation of Teachers)
- Coronavirus Infographics in South Pacific Languages (Hawaii Department of Health)
FAQs, fact sheets, and glossaries
- Coronavirus: Resources in Multiple Languages (Minnesota Department of Health)
- Coronavirus: FAQ for Parents in English and Spanish (KidsHealth)
- Coronavirus: Fact sheets in mutiple (Ontario, Canada)
- Coronavirus: Fact sheets in 11 languages (Washington State)
- Coronavirus: Resources and Updates (New York City Department of Public Health)
- Translated Health Materials, Including COVID-19 Resources (Minnesota Department of Health)
- COVID-19 Information in Indigenous Languages (Indigenous Alliance Without Borders)
- COVID-19 Glossary in Spanish (Tremedica)
- COVID-19 Glossary in 18 Languages (Eriksen Translations)
- CDC Coronavirus video: Somali (YouTube)
- CDC Coronavirus video: ASL (YouTube)
- Minnesota Public Health: How to Wash Your Hands in multiple languages (YouTube)
School district updates in multiple languages
- Coronavirus Parent Letters in Multiple Languages (New York City Department of Education)
- Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus (NPR)
- Coronavirus student guide: Virus explainer and news updates (PBS NewsHour Extra, courtesy of BrainPOP)
- Coronavirus: What Students Should Know (PBS NewsHour Extra)
- Coronavirus Lesson Plans and Resources (ShareMyLesson)
- CNN 10: Ongoing Coverage of Coronavirus (CNN)
- Current Events Podcasts about Coronavirus (Listenwise – registration required)
- Coronavirus: Explainer graphics (Partners in Health)
Resources for families
- Coronavirus: Resources for Educators, Families and Kids (PBS)
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus (PBS Parents)
- Caring for Each Other During COVID-19 (Sesame Street)
- Resources for Helping Kids and Families Cope Amidst COVID-19 (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
- How to protect yourself when caring for a child with COVID-19 (The Washington Post)
- Coronavirus and Missing School: What to Say and Do If Your Child Has to Stay Home (Understood)
- Coronavirus and Helping Kids: FAQs on Handwashing, Anxiety, and More (Understood)
- How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus (HealthLine)
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (National Association of School Psychologists)
- What To Say To Kids When The News Is Scary (NPR)
- Fred Rogers Talks About Tragic Events in the News (PBS Parents)
How you can help
Learn how you can help families impacted by COVID-19 school closures, lay-offs, and medical emergencies. You may be able to find more information about local organizations working in your community.
Photo credit: James Gathany/CDC