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Elmo, Cookie Monster enlisted to teach kids about hand washing

The Sesame Street Muppets are featured in new public service announcements to teach kids how to be safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

NEW YORK — Elmo, Rooster and Cookie Monster are doing their part to help keep kids safe as the coronavirus pandemic grinds on.

The beloved Sesame Street Muppets are featured in some of four new animated public service spots reminding young fans to take care while doing such things as washing hands and sneezing.

One of Elmo's signature songs, the toothbrush classic “Brushy Brush,” has been updated to “Washy Wash.” Rooster pops up in another of the 30-second spots to remind kids to “wash hands now” before eating, playing sports or using the bathroom.

The new content on SesameStreet.org/caring builds on last week’s launch of Sesame Workshop's Caring for Each Other initiative to help families stay physically and mentally healthy during the health crisis. The overall project ranges from messages of comfort to learning activities in reading, math and science.

The new spots will be distributed globally in 19 languages through partners that include HBO, PBS Kids, YouTube and the Ad Council.

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"As families around the world adjust to their new realities, parents and caregivers are looking for help in creating new routines, staying healthy and fostering learning at home while little ones are out of school,” Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement.

The workshop will continue to roll out new resources for parents and caregivers on creating new routines, fostering playful learning at home and managing anxiety. Families can also watch Sesame Street episodes on HBO, PBS stations and the PBS KIDS 24/7 live stream. Free on-demand episodes of “Sesame Street” are offered on PBS KIDS digital platforms, along with more than 110 free “Sesame Street” e-books on all major e-book platforms.