CNN hosted a second town hall on Saturday in partnership with “Sesame Street.” This time, CNN anchor Erica Hill and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta taught kids and their families about coronavirus through lessons from beloved “Sesame Street” characters and special guests, including gold medal-winning Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez and Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises.
Throughout the hour-long special, Cookie Monster explained why it’s not a good idea to share food, Elmo encouraged kids to wear their masks in public even though they can’t see coronavirus, the Count taught how to keep a six-foot distance from others and the whole cast paid tribute to health workers in a new song.
Biles and Hernandez stopped by the town hall to give advice on how to stay active while at home, but emphasized that it’s important to do things that make you happy during such a stressful and isolated time.
“Just try to stay positive,” Hernandez said. “I know right now everything feels like it’s upside down, so find things that make you feel good and make you happy, whether that’s working out, trying to learn how to cook, watching your favorite TV shows, music or connecting with your friends.”
Big Bird and kids across the nation had important questions for Santelises about going back to school and what might be different this academic year.
“We are thinking about how the space in the classroom needs to be different, how we can keep groups of students together in smaller groups,” Santelises said. “It may also look like not everybody coming to school on the same day, but I think what will be important also is that students get a chance to still be with their teachers and still have the opportunity to learn.”
Some parents expressed concern that their children haven’t been learning as much as they should during quarantine, but Santelises reassured them that this will be taken into consideration before going back to school.
“All parents should know that we realize this has been a challenging time for families,” Santelises said. “So one of the things that we are looking at as educators is how do we make sure that we get the right sense of where kids are in terms of how they’re feeling when they come back to school, but also where their skills are.”
Santelises also had a message for children who may be feeling scared to return.
“It’s okay to be a little scared,” Santelises said. “I think all of us are scared from time to time, but we are working to make sure that you are as safe as possible, and I bet when you see some of your friends at a distance, some of that fear will go away.”
Watch the full town hall here.