By Dr. Tamika S. Dawson-Knox
Social distancing is the practice of limiting participation in mass-scale events such as concerts, sporting events, rallies, and meetings to minimize the potential chain of infection and spread. Since these measures will have a considerable impact on our community, any action to start social distancing measures would be coordinated with local agencies such as cities, police departments, and schools as well as with state and federal partners. This is the reason it is so important to close Disneyland, Disneyworld, NBA games and March madness. This will help us decrease the spread of the disease. Be prepared for your favorite coffee shops and restaurants to go to a “to go” model. Grocery stores will continue to alter their hours to adjust to the demands of their community. It will be critical to understanding what you may be asked or required to do during social distancing. It will be important to follow the public health policy in your community so stay informed and plan ahead.
Currently, you want to avoid gatherings of 50 or more in most states. If you are 65 and older avoiding crowds of 10 or more is important as this population is the most at risk.
Self-quarantine by staying home and away from others when you are sick even if you do not have COVID-19. You need to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and discard the tissue in the trash. Make sure you are washing your hands and taking all the necessary precautions by wearing a mask when you are in public.
If you are healthy the recommendations are to wash your hands frequently and make sure you wash for at least 20 seconds by singing “staying alive or happy birthday”. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects. Continue to stay away from people who have or have been exposed to COVID-19.
So you have been asked to socially distance yourself in your community… Now, what??? Many jobs and schools have started to close to minimize exposure even in the largest school district in the country New York City. So the scariest part is how to handle and work with your children now that that everyone is home. First don’t panic they are your children and children, in general, are way more flexible than you would expect. The first days of being at home together tend to the hardest. Start off by having a meeting with them to discuss what you each want and expect from the break. Come up with a template on your days and be a little flexible. Put in the time to figure out what works (here is an example template)
Breakfast by 9 am
9-11:30 project such as reading and doing a “book report”; science project; speech
12:30-2:30 alone time: coloring, educational tablet time, teens SAT prep: parents meeting times
2:30-3:30 Playtime/parents workout time
3:30 done for the day.
Consider different ways to teach your child by having them teach you something they have learned. Use your surroundings to help you teach your child. Take a hike, read books together and then explore what you discovered in the book. Try to make this time special. Maybe record a movie about your family to share later when they are older. Remember you are not alone in this you have a whole neighborhood and friend network that are going through the same thing. Lean on them to have playtime, work together to come up with lesson plans as a group.
If you are struggling with school lunch please check local options many schools and communities are providing free lunch during this time. Some school districts are having their bus drivers deliver free lunches to their students.