Melania Trump Urges Students to 'Take Care' of Themselves amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The first lady has appeared in multiple videos raising awareness and providing information about the health crisis

Melania Trump
First Lady Melania Trump. Photo: CNN

While her husband tangles with reporters and governors and makes headlines for his medicinal theories, Melania Trump is extending her gratitude and praise to all of the students whose lives have been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In a pre-taped message that aired at the end of CNN’s weekly town hall on Thursday, the first lady, 50, acknowledged the “many changes” students have had to make over the past two months, as schools around the country closed due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

“Many of you had to attend classes in your homes and haven’t been able to see your friends. Many of you, you were looking forward to your prom, spring sports and graduation. These changes were not easy but you have been so strong and I am proud of the examples you have become,” she said in the televised video. “Your determination to get through this will define your generation for years to come. So thank you for helping your families, your friends, your communities and our country to stay healthy and safe during these unusual times.”

She went on to encourage them to continue to stay active and supportive.

“As we navigate the days and weeks ahead, take care of yourself. Use this time to read the book you’ve been meaning to read, practice your favorite sport or learn a new one and help out at home. Be sure to stay in touch with friends and family and make sure you’re being your best self,” the first lady said. “These are important and healthy habits that we can all easily practice and they are a reminder that we will only get through this with patience, compassion and care.”

“Tonight, please know that the president and I are with you during these challenging times and we continue to do everything we can to support you,” she added.

The first lady has appeared in multiple videos raising awareness and providing information about the health crisis in recent weeks.

In addition to illustrating the importance of wearing protective masks in public — even though President Donald Trump has continually said he would not, against the advice of various officials — Mrs. Trump has also provided messages of reassurance that the widespread disruption to daily life will not last forever.

She joined her husband and Vice President Mike Pence earlier this week on a call with state governors, highlighting the need to address the impact COVID-19 has had on children’s mental health.

RELATED VIDEO: Nancy Pelosi Says Trump Shouldn't Take Unproven Hydroxychloroquine Because He's 'Morbidly Obese'

President Trump has been heavily scrutinized for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, and his comments have sometimes been at odds with health officials — as when he suggested injecting disinfectant could be a treatment for the virus.

Many, including White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that more waves of coronavirus cases are likely, especially if the country reopens too quickly without proper preventative measures.

But the president, who sees a robust economy as key to his re-election campaign, has thrown his support behind ending shutdowns. The final decision on that rests with individual governors.

As of Friday, there were more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and at least 95,500 deaths, according to The New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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