COVID-19 Information for ELL and Multilingual Families

Man monitoring computers at CDC Emergency Operations Center during coronavirus response

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:

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.

Multilingual resources

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.


FAQs, fact sheets, and glossaries


School district updates in multiple languages

Related Resources

Classroom resources

Resources for families

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