Governor Newsom Partners with Sesame Workshop for Back-To-School PSAs


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As COVID-19 Complicates Back-To-School, Three New PSAs, in Collaboration with Sesame Workshop, the Skoll Foundation and Participant, Aim to Teach Kids Healthy Habits for Staying Safe During Pandemic

SACRAMENTO — Today, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new PSA partnership on back-to-school safety with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, and facilitated by the Skoll Foundation and Participant, which will be released over the course of this week, with the first PSA to be released today.

As part of Sesame Workshop’s #CaringForEachOther initiative to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic, the three new English- and Spanish-language PSAs feature the lovable Sesame Street Muppets promoting best practices for kids and families during the pandemic, including how to properly wear a mask, socially distance, wash hands, and navigate the hybrid learning environment many California kids are experiencing this Fall.

“As parents, we tell our kids all the time about the importance of washing hands, staying six feet apart and wearing masks, but it just might register differently if those messages come from Elmo,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We appreciate Sesame Street’s partnership during this critical time when parents and kids are preparing to return to school – many through distance learning.”

“Participant often acts as a unique connector for organizations unknown to each other, but all committed to improving our world,” said David Linde, CEO of Participant. “We’re thrilled to facilitate a powerful storytelling partnership with Sesame Workshop, the Skoll Foundation, and Governor Newsom to remind kids and parents alike how to protect themselves as they navigate back-to-school during this pandemic. We cannot forget that children are our greatest resource.”

“The messenger is equally as important as the message,” said Lindsey Spindle, president of The Jeff Skoll Group. “In these new PSAs, the iconic Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, and Elmo’s dad Louie help children understand how to stay safe in and out of school during the pandemic by practicing social distancing, hand-washing, and mask-wearing. On behalf of Jeff Skoll and our dedicated teams at the Skoll Foundation and Participant, we are proud to partner with the state of California, Governor Newsom and Sesame Workshop to creatively emphasize that we all have roles to play in curbing the spread of this virus, and that it can be done when we work together.”

”With so many children and families adjusting to new routines, whether returning to school or daycare or transitioning to online learning, we’re proud to partner with the California Governor’s Office, the Skoll Foundation, and Participant to help families navigate their back-to-school transitions,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Social Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop. “With a little help from our friends Elmo, Oscar, and Grover, we can deliver critical health messages and help children understand how to stay safe and healthy.”

As California continues to endure and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as schools statewide continue safe reopenings, these PSAs are a recognition that government alone cannot slow the spread of COVID-19 and that by leveraging partners like Sesame Workshop, the Skoll Foundation, and Participant, we can expand the message of practicing safe and healthy behaviors, particularly for young Californians. The PSAs will be widely distributed nationally through multiple media partners, including the Ad Council.

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