For Families - Extended School Cancellation and Social Distancing

little boy with hand held chalk board smiling
Friday, March 27, 2020

Extended school cancellation and recommendations from Oregon Governor Kate Brown around social distancing can be stressful for families. Here are a few things you may want to know more about.

Can we still do playdates?
We recommend not having playdates, as they put children at increased risk of getting sick. Someone who comes over looking well can still transmit the virus. 

It is not just the coronavirus that is a concern, but any virus that might lead to a weakened immune system. Plus, you want to avoid doctor's visits if you can, both to avoid possibly getting infected with CODIV-19 and to avoid overloading the health care system. 

Outside of arrangements for necessary childcare, you should avoid playdates.

Can children still play on playgrounds or play structures?

We recommend to avoid playgrounds or other “high-touch” areas, like toy stores or play areas as they may not be cleaned or disinfected regularly. They can also be smaller spaces, which makes it harder to maintain social distancing.

How can I practice social distancing and still have fun?

  • Get outside with members of your immediate family only. Take a walk, go on a bike ride, or go for a run.
  • If available to you, interact with friends or family over the internet, or talk to them through video phone calls such as FaceTime or Skype.
  • Do art projects, play games, do puzzles, or read books.

What about families who do not live in the same house?

There is no formal guidance from the state or federally on how to address this concern. Handling this situation needs to be done on a case-by-case basis through an actual family law attorney related to your personal situation. It is important to facilitate extra contact for parents or guardians that they cannot see for reasons like illness, quarantine, etc. 

Using phone calls or Skype, here are some ideas for virtual family time:

  • For preschool age, get the same picture book at both houses and read the same book together via Skype. 
  • For children a little older, try playing a board game together like CandyLand and move the same pieces at the same time. 
  • For older children, try reading the same chapter of a book together each night. 

Simply put, encouraging quality contact is a great way to maintain connections in a positive way.