PBS Responds To Coronavirus With Programming And Online Content

As concern about the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic continues to rise, PBS presents a collection of programs and resources with timely and relevant information on the spread of the virus. Content includes a new primetime program, Confronting Coronavirus: A PBS Newshour Special, which features interviews with officials and a virtual town hall with curated questions from across the nation; an upcoming documentary, Frontline “Coronavirus Pandemic,” on the government’s response to the outbreak; and a new episode of PBS Digital Studios’ It’s Okay To Be Smart focused on the prevention of spreading germs.

Additional online resources are available from PBS.org, PBS KIDS and PBS LearningMedia to help adults and children understand the virus and ways to prevent infection. As many families and teachers face school closures, PBS KIDS and PBS LearningMedia are offering a variety of tools to help support learning at home, including educational videos and games from favorite series, and related skill-building offline activities. PBS local stations will continue to serve as resources for viewers to understand what is happening in their local communities and support families and teachers.

Coronavirus-related Programming:


  • Confronting Coronavirus: A PBS Newshour Special (Premieres Thursday, March 19, 8-9 p.m. ET) — This special, from PBS Newshour, will focus on health precautions for individuals and the public at large, as well as the pandemic’s economic impact in both the United States and globally. Anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff, it will include interviews with officials, reporting from Newshour‘s bench of special correspondents throughout the world and a virtual town hall with curated questions from people across America, to be moderated by NEWSHOUR correspondents Amna Nawaz and William Brangham.

PBS Newshour’s regular daily programming and clips are also available to stream on the PBS Video App and PBS Passport.

  • Spillover — Zika, Ebola & Beyond (Re-airs Thursday March 19, 9-10 p.m. ET and available for streaming on the PBS Video App) — Throughout the last few decades, diseases that spill over from animals to humans have been on the rise. This documentary examines what’s behind their increase and reveals strategies to prevent devastating outbreaks. Join scientists as they investigate the rise of spillover viruses like Zika, Ebola and Nipah, and learn what science can do to anticipate and prevent epidemics around the world. This PBS special was originally broadcast in August 2016 during the outbreak of Zika virus. The public health strategies depicted in this film apply to managing the current coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.



  • Frontline “Coronavirus Pandemic” (Premieres Tuesday, April 21, 9-10 p.m. ET) — A special Frontlinereport on the government response to the coronavirus and the human toll. The two-part special investigates the federal response versus Washington State, the outbreak’s U.S. epicenter; and in the Midwest, how the outbreak impacts poor children.

PBS programming is available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV and Chromecast. PBS station members will also be able to view all episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details).

PBS Digital Content and Resources:

  • PBS NewsHour Novel Coronavirus Web Portal This website contains breaking news coverage on the novel coronavirus. Additional PBS NewsHour resources include:

o   PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) SRL has created a new e-learning student journalism unit, “Making Sense of the Coronavirus Through Storytelling and Media Making,” that empowers students to take positive action by producing vital news stories from their community. SRL will host a webinar for educators on how to use the unit to lead student journalism projects on Tuesday, March 17 at 7 p.m. ET. Educators can register here.

o   PBS NewsHour Extra will continue to provide up-to-date lesson plans from the PBS NewsHour Coronavirus coverage, featuring student-produced stories and media literacy.

o   PBS NewsHour Education Coverage will continue to report on how the pandemic is affecting education, from child care to K-12 and Higher Education.

o   Educators can sign up for the NewsHour Education Newsletter for weekly updates.

  • PBS’s “What You Should Know About the Novel Coronavirus”
    Visit this web portal for evolving coverage and important background information.

 NOVA: How Serious is the Coronavirus? Video A short video from NOVA examines what medical experts know—and don’t know—about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, called COVID-19.

  • PBS Digital Studios is developing a program on early steps to preventing the spread of germs for its series It’s Okay To Be Smart. The network remains a leading destination for educational resources on YouTube with a number of scientific videos on the human body and viruses. Programs explore “Why Do We Wash Our Hands After Going to the Bathroom?,” “How Do Hand Sanitizers Work?,” “Where Do Viruses Come From?,” and “Our Immune Systems: Part 1, 2 and 3.”

Resources for PreK-12 Educators: 

PBS LearningMedia is a free resource that offers the following resources for PreK-12 educators:

  • PBS LearningMedia Virus Information & Prevention Collection This collection of resources helps PreK-12 educators teach the nature of viruses (including novel coronavirus), how they are transmitted and the healthy habits we can all engage in to prevent their spread.
  • Distance Learning Resources

PBS LearningMedia offers educators a variety of features that support distance learning, including easy searching by grade level, curriculum area, and state and national standards, as well as integration with Google Classroom and Remind.

  • Webinar: “Distance Learning with PBS LearningMedia” On Wednesday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. ET, PBS will offer a one-hour professional learning event for PreK-12 educators that will include tips and techniques to support distance instruction.

Resources for Children and Families:

PBS KIDS offers a variety of free resources to support families and caregivers, including a 24/7 channel with anytime access to trusted educational series for kids ages 2-8 (check local listings) and the following digital tools:

  • PBS KIDS Video Available on mobile, tablet and connected TV devices, PBS KIDS offers on-demand educational videos and a livestream of the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel. No subscription is required.
  • PBS KIDS Games App Includes nearly 200 educational games, which can be downloaded for offline play anytime, anywhere. Learn more about this and PBS KIDS’ other apps at pbskids.org/apps.
  • PBS KIDS for Parents A robust website with information, activities and tips for parents, including resources for talking with kids about coronavirus, encouraging healthy habits, managing worried feelings and supporting playful learning at home.
  • PBS KIDS Daily Newsletter A new weekday newsletter with videos, games, related offline activities and tips parents can use to keep their children playing and learning at home. Sign up here.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

More News