Local school project

MHB students Julian Bauer (8th semester, left) and Jannis Schwanemann (6th semester, right) addressing a school class)

Brandenburg an der Havel, 3 December 2020

MHB students have started to visit local schools where they meet teachers and pupils to talk about the new Corona virus. They answer questions, discuss conspiracy theories and try to allay fears and worries.

The impact of the Corona pandemic on day-to-day life is considerable. Volunteer work is affected as well. Activities in some areas had to be suspended, whereas new possibilities for social commitment have opened up in others. Students at the Brandenburg Medical School (MHB) decided to undertake an assignment of some significance for social cohesion.

In connection with the Covid-19 pandemic we are experiencing a confusion of fake news, conspiracy theories and misinformation, often spread by influencers with many followers but also in the home environment. The effects on children and adolescents are mainly disregarded. Many in this age group have difficulties to understand the complex issues behind conspiracy theories and therefore to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong.

This alarming development attracted the attention of physician and MHB instructor Dr. Mario Zerbaum when he tested teachers at the Otto Tschirch Secondary School in Brandenburg an der Havel for SARS-CoV-2 and got to talk to pupils. He contacted MHB students and asked them for support at local schools. The resulting student initiative with now 15 members targets children and youngsters in grades 7 to 10; the aim is to talk about the Corona virus, to answer questions, discuss and dispel conspiracy theories and allay or reduce fears on the part of pupils and also teachers. The meetings serve to check facts via reliable sources and identify misinformation more easily. David Füller and Julian Bauer as the initiators expand their offer of support to other local schools and teachers in Brandenburg an der Havel and Neuruppin.

Julian Bauer and David Füller