DeBakey HS students share important public health messages

Since the beginning of the pandemic, raising awareness about social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks has played an essential role in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

For the students at the Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, a Baylor-Houston ISD partner school, showing their peers how they can contribute to COVID-19 safety practices is an important part of protecting their classmates and community.

Through the video “COVID-19 Safety, We All Play a Part,” a theater production class at DeBakey High School provides safety tips and guidelines on how students of all ages can avoid putting themselves and others at risk.

Gabrielle Kong records important COVID public health information for a school project.

“I think it’s important for younger people to see others their own age following these practices to help encourage them and help them understand that this is not a joke or something to be taken lightly,” said Gabrielle Kong, a sophomore who appears in the video.

Produced by Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Educational Outreach, the video highlights safety tips communicated by students through Zoom. Before filming, the students constructed their own safety message for the video; including the proper way to wash hands, tips for wearing masks and encouraging others to get the vaccine.

In the video, Kong emphasizes why people should continue to wear a mask in public and the importance of social distancing. 

“Masks and social distancing are two things that have been talked about a lot but they are still important for people to understand,” Kong said.  “I feel that this is something that people should continue to be informed about and made aware of and that there are certain safety precautions they should take for these situations.”

Although there already has been a variety of information on COVID-19 safety, health messages provided by students their own age can resonate more with a younger audience. Dr. Nancy Moreno, professor and chair of the Department of Education, Innovation & Technology at Baylor, said the purpose of the video is to remind students why they should continue to follow these practices in all settings, even when the pandemic enters its final stages. 

“The vast majority of high school students are not vaccinated, so public health procedures are still important both in school and outside of school,” Moreno said. “We know that students have been following approved practices at school, but there are concerns about what happens when they return home. This video is designed to help students remember to follow safe practices related to COVID outside of the classroom.”

Not only does the video help communicate safety measures to a younger audience, but it also provides an opportunity for students at DeBakey High School to join healthcare professionals in providing health information to the community. 

Moreno adds that the video also offers Kong and her classmates a chance to use their theater arts skills when the pandemic put most of their live performances on hold.

“The video serves a unique purpose particularly for the students at DeBakey High School who are at a health professions high school,” Moreno said. “The video allows them to deliver important health messages while also giving the students in theater classes an opportunity to perform.”

“COVID-19 Safety We All Play a Part” is available on YouTube and BioEd Online. While this is the only project so far, there are plans to produce a skit over a similar topic with theater production class at DeBakey High School.  

“Everyone needs to take precautions and follow the guidelines so that we can protect others and ourselves,” Kong said. “I think the video will help both younger people and older people see that even the younger generation is putting in the effort to keep the world safe.”  

By Kaylee Dusang