Here’s the situation: there’s a disease outbreak, it’s spreading pandemic-fast, and every member of the community is at risk. How should federal and local governments, health agencies, and the public respond in order to minimize deaths and stop further geographic spread of germs?
I found out yesterday at the Wellesley High School Evolutions Program‘s case study presentations on infectious disease outbreaks and how communities respond to them. During the month-long project, students learned about how diseases are transmitted and prevented. They also studied likely government responses in various major cities, how journalists might cover the issue (or be prevented from doing so), and the ethics of decision making.
The Wellesley High School Evolutions program is an interdisciplinary and collaborative program open to juniors and seniors in which teachers and students make connections across courses in Art, English, Science, and Social Studies. The idea of the interdisciplinary program is to offer students the opportunity to engage in project-based learning that is not confined to the typical bell schedule, reaching students who are excited by the possibility of exploring school in a new way and who want to have more ownership over their learning.
Evolutions Program Coordinator and English teacher Thom Henes invited some Wellesley High School teachers and other members of the community in to observe the presentations and ask questions. We were encouraged to be tough on the content, creativity, and viability of the students’ plans to keep everyone safe in the event of an outbreak. Some others who attended were Lenny Izzo, Director of Public Health, Wellesley Health Department; Ann Marie McCauley, Public Health Nurse Supervisor, Wellesley Health Department; Zach Nicol and Crystal Bartels, WHS Social Studies teachers; and Marc Bender and Lynne Novogroski, WHS administrators.