We’ve made it through the end of the school year, and summer is officially here! On the one hand, we have a lot more flexibility with how we spend our time as we no longer have to navigate emergency remote learning….and, on the other hand, we have a lot more ambiguity as restrictions are lifted and the frameworks that have been in place for months dissolve. How can you navigate this space in a way that works for you and your family?
Know the rules and follow the rules.
While there is a lot of unknowns surrounding coronavirus and the way to best avoid getting sick right now, there are some rules put into place by the government that must be followed in order to avoid jail time or a fine, and it is your responsibility to know these rules. Make sure you are up-to-date on what these are. Is there a mandatory mask ordinance where you live? Is travel restricted? Is there a curfew? Are you allowed to be playing on playgrounds? While you have a lot of choice during this phase of the pandemic, depending on where you live, there may be certain pieces around which you have no choice.
In most areas, the official rules during this time are fairly limited, giving you much space to make your own decisions about what you are and are not willing to do and what you feel safe doing during this time. In order to make the best decisions for you and your family, make sure you are staying informed of the current situation. Sources like The Center for Disease Control or locally at the City of Denver include information about current cases and risks and include suggestions as to how to minimize risk. You might want to consider questions such as: Are cases increasing or decreasing where I am? What is the current hospital capacity? What are the current studies showing about how this is (or isn’t) impacting kids?
No matter what you do, there are certain precautions you can take to be just a bit safer that don’t add significant inconvenience for you. Things like washing hands regularly, not touching your face, using hand sanitizer, and being outside as much as possible are all easy ways to minimize risk without significantly changing what you would usually do. Other questions to consider when thinking about how to best protect you and your family include: How can you avoid large crowds? How can you make plans that allow for social distancing? How can you minimize touching surfaces outside of your home?
Only you know what is best for you and your family.
Choosing how to navigate the pandemic is a very personal decision, and only you know what is best for you and your family. Everyone will make different choices during this time, and it is your responsibility to make the choices that align with what is best for you and your family. Your job is to stay informed and use whatever information you find relevant and valuable and balance that with the needs and priorities of your family, including: What makes me feel safe? What does my family need to "survive" the summer? What is truly important to us?
Be aware that others might be taking a different approach -- and that’s okay.
Like we mentioned, there is a lot of choice involved in this stage of coronavirus, and everyone is navigating it in their own way. It might be that families invite your kids for play dates before you are ready -- and you can say no. It might be that families won’t feel comfortable with their kids playing with your kids at the playground -- and that is okay. Some people wear masks at all times and others only wear them when mandated. Some people feel comfortable in small gatherings, and others would prefer to stick with their nuclear family in their own home. Everyone is adopting their own set of norms and guidelines right now, and you have to be okay with what you are doing and also be okay that your decisions might be different from those around you.
Ultimately, we’re all in this together.
Coronavirus is a worldwide pandemic that has impacted everyone in different ways, but it has affected everyone in some way. While we’ve all navigated the last few months in own way and will be asked to continue making our own decisions as to how to navigate the next few months, ultimately this is something we are all collectively experiencing, and none of us is alone. While our primary responsibility during this time is to make decisions that help our families stay safe, healthy, and sane, many of our actions do impact those around us, and we should keep that in mind as well, considering questions such as: What impact do any of my actions have on others? How can I help make sure the more vulnerable in my community are as safe as can be? How can I minimize risk to those around me?
Coronavirus is unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime, and there are still so many questions about what the future holds as relates to the pandemic. We already know that this summer will look different from any other summer we’ve experienced...but what exactly it does look like is up to us (whether or not we are ready).