March 16, 2020
Now that COVID-19 has shut down many schools, as well as daycare centers, movie theaters and play houses, government are recommending that we all practice social distancing in an effort to "flatten the curve." What does this actually mean?
As you can see from this now familiar chart, if we strictly follow the recommended protection measures, we can lessen the burden placed on our healthcare system. Washing hands religiously is number one, but there is also social distancing. If you have children at home because of school cancellations, this can be a trying time. It is perfectly normal for children to feel worried or nervous and have questions about what is happening. How the situation is handled will strongly affect how children will respond. It is, therefore, important to remain calm when your children talk about the virus. Reassure them they are safe and there are many things they can do to stay healthy:
- Hand washing: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Keep clean: Keep hands away from the face and mouth.
- Cough or sneeze: Cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue.
- Stay healthy: Get lots of sleep, remain physically active and eat healthy foods.
- Stay at home: If you do feel sick be sure to stay at home and isolate yourself.
This last one can be difficult. Kids get bored easily, especially when thrown off of their normal routines. Here is a short list of just some of the things that kids can do to keep occupied during this time, when we are all trying to maintain our "social distance" from one another.Overdrive:
Search for the Overdrive app at your favorite app store. With the free app – and your library card – you can borrow eBooks, audiobooks and stream video. More than 40,000 libraries worldwide offer titles through Overdrive, which is available 24/7.
Simply download the books that you are interested in and fill up your "bookshelf." You can then read them at your pleasure when you are offline. Worried about late fees? You no longer have to even think about returning books. They simply disappear from your bookshelf after the due date. And you can place a hold or create a wishlist on titles that are currently checked out.LibriVox:
This website is a free resource where you can download audiobooks read by volunteers from around the world.
Art Galleries and Museums
Take an online tour of the Louvre
: one of the most famous art museums in the world offers free online tours of its Michelangelo and Egyptian Antiquities, as well as other popular exhibits.
The National Gallery of Art
founded in 1937 provides virtual tours of its Van Goghs and many other masterpieces.
The Vatican Museums
offer some of the most important works of art and classical sculptures curated by the Popes over many centuries. You can even see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
The British Museum
has a collection of over 8 million artifacts many of which can be viewed online, such as objects from the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.The Google Art Project:
Google has partnered with more than 60 museums and galleries from around the world to archive and document priceless works of art and provide virtual tours using Google Street View technology. Here you can witness fine art from the White House to the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, or even street art in San Paulo!
While it is fun for the kids to have a few unscheduled days off from school, if it lasts for any length of time (and it looks like 2 weeks will be the minimum) it can really be a detriment to their studies. Some schools are working out programs to be able to deliver content online and most universities have offerings as well. In the interim there are a host of excellent private companies that provide online courses.
Check out EdHelper
, who are currently offering a number of free worksheet resources from K-12, while school is out during this virus pandemic.EduCode Academy
is the place to go to enroll in computer science courses for kids aged 10 and up. They have courses for beginners to your more advanced students.
The University of Waterloo
is offering some free online mathematics and computing courses for middle and high schoolers.
Once the glee of missing school has worn off, it will be important to establish a new routine and some structure to your kids' days. If you do want to go down the road of providing a type of home school option, then begin as you mean to continue. Set the expectations and remind them: this isn't a holiday. Stay healthy and remember to wash those hands often.