Pandemic Policy Information in the Media

Local, state, and national government use social media to communicate information about the COVID-19 pandemic. In this activity, you will examine how state governments have used and are continuing to use social media to communicate their COVID-19 pandemic policies.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, states have used their 10th Amendment powers to implement emergency public health and education policies (e.g., declarations of emergency, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates and mask mandate bans, travel restrictions, and vaccination rules), generating strong public debate and, in some cases, intense opposition.

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As the COVID-19 Delta variant surged in summer 2021, schools and the education  sector became one of the most highly disputed areas of COVID-related policies. In some cases, state policies were in direct opposition to local rules. For example, throughout 2021, Florida's governor maintained steadfast opposition to masks for students and teachers in public schools, while local school boards voted to continue requiring face covering in classrooms and corridors. The governor threatened "maximum sanctions," including loss of state education funding while the Biden Administration suggested it would provide federal funds if state monies were withheld (Politico, August 10, 2021).

In Texas as well, school leaders in Dallas and Austin, among other districts, defied the state governor's executive order that schools cannot require masks. Disputes over COVID-19 policies have heightened tensions within communities. In one Colorado county, sheriff's deputies were posted at schools for the first day of class to prevent disruptions from parents who objected to the district's in-school mask requirements (Bradbury, 2021).

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised multiple public policy issues. What level of government (local, state, federal) should decide mask mandates, vaccination mandates, vaccine passports, travel restrictions, eviction policies, and other matters? Or should these decisions be left to individuals and families? 

Consider also how did you learn and how are you continuing to learn about your state government's policies COVID-19 pandemic policies. How are state governments, including your own state, using media to inform, persuade, and educate citizens about pandemic policies and people's health decisions? 

Activity: Evaluate State Government's Media Use

Select at least 3 states from different parts of the country. 

Then, complete one of the following tasks:

    1. Complete a SWOT analysis of each state government's use of media to inform the public about COVID-19 policies. 
    2. Redesign a state government webpage, social media post, or social media video in a way that you believe would more effectively inform the public about a COVID-19 policy.
    3. Write a Yelp or Amazon review about each of the three state government's use of media (see example Amazon Review template by Madeline Hill). 

Designing for Learning: Student-Created Activity Example

Evaluate State Government's Media Use by Janey Mason

Additional Resources

Connecting to the Building Democracy for All eBook

Building Democracy for All: State Government Pandemic Policies

Connecting to the Standards

  • Massachusetts Civics & Government Standards
    • Explain why the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution is important to state government and identify the powers granted to the states by the Tenth Amendment and the limits to state government outlined in it. (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T6.5]
  • ISTE Standards
    • Knowledge Constructor
      • 3a: Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
      • 3b: Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
      • 3d: Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
    • Creative Communicator
      • 6a: Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
      • 6b: Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
      • 6d: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for the intended audiences.
  • DLCS Standards
    • Interpersonal and Societal Impact (CAS.c)
    • Digital Tools (DTC.a)
    • Collaboration and Communication (DTC.b)
    • Research (DTC.c)
  • English Language Arts > History/Social Studies Common Core Standards
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.6
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.8

This content is provided to you freely by EdTech Books.

Access it online or download it at https://edtechbooks.org/mediaandciviclearning/informing_pandemic_policies.