It is so interesting how our world can change in such a short time. I don’t need to re-state the obvious, but it’s pretty wild how many facets of our lives are being impacted by the outbreak and spread of the Coronavirus.
YET: Amidst the sad news of sickness and death, plans being derailed, pretty-much-everything being cancelled, financial stress, and a general state of anxiety, we can all agree there is much to be thankful for: Good leaders making hard decisions to keep us as safe and healthy as possible. Scientific masterminds scrambling night and day to find a cure. Medical professionals risking much to serve sacrificially. Communities caring for one another. And hopefully a whole lot of toilet paper being rushed to the Hawaiian islands. (Can you hurry? We’re getting…low.)
Really, though — There is good in this if you’re looking for it. (selfishly I’m happy that Josiah will be coming home from college next week!) And, of course, we can trust that God is not surprised by COVID-19 or anything else, and He will be with us all through it. He is also likely to teach us a lot in this time, so we’d all be wise to be prayerful and alert.
I really didn’t plan to write a post about the Coronavirus but in light of how many emails and messages I have been receiving, I thought it would be a good idea to address the 3 topics I am getting the most questions about. Actually, I am getting questions about the first two — the third one is just my heart.
Dr. Dave’s thoughts about the Coronavirus?…
“What does your husband say about the Coronavirus?…Should we get tested?…Is it going to get worse?…”
First, about Dr. Dave: Dave is a hospitalist — he does inpatient medicine at a hospital. He spends a lot of time in the ER where he evaluates new patients before they are admitted to a room. Then he follows up on their care, ordering tests (including the COVID ) and doing all he can to help them get well and back home. He sees a lot of infections, heart disease, cancer, and any and all end-of-life scenarios. (Basically, you should hope he is never your doctor. Except he is a cute one. 🙂 )
Dave wishes he could give everyone some inside scoop on the Coronavirus but he really is learning each day just like everyone else. He is scrubbing up constantly, fully covering up when he tests a patient for the virus, and getting more information as it is available. Hawaii has not been hit hard at this point, though there have been a couple cases, and we can expect more are coming.
^^Today at the hospital while testing a patient for COVID-19. So far he has not had a positive COVID-19 test.
Dave responds —
WHO should be tested? Get tested if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, if you live in a community where there is on-going spread of the disease, or if you develop symptoms.
Symptoms: Cough, fever, shortness of breath.
If you develop the following emergency warning signs, get help immediately: Difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, blueish lips or face. This list is not all – inclusive but consult your medical doctor for these or any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
**Find more information at the Center for Disease Control.
Dave says to take every health precaution you can: Wash your hands often. Avoid crowded places. Stay home when you can. Stay hydrated, and eat healthy foods. (fruits and veggies = antioxidants.) Also, avoid touching your (or anyone else’s) face.
(from Scary mommy IG)
2. On Schooling from home:
Schools closing down and sending students home for the foreseeable future may be causing as much fear and anxiety as the threat of disease itself…And now parents all over the country (world) are facing one of their biggest fears: having to homeschool their kids. I’m getting lots of messages from moms asking for help or direction, and while I confess I get excited thinking how many parents will discover they actually LIKE having their kids do school at home, this is not the ideal way to step into it, I know.
(Found this on Heidi St. John’s IG.)
Of course this disease came so quickly that schools will need some time to sort through how they will handle the details of educating students remotely. Hopefully, everyone will eventually be given specific directions on what kids need to do to finish their school year well. If you are choosing to actually pull kids out of the current school system and homeschool them, that is different; you’ll need to choose a curriculum and figure out how to approach the rest of the year. (In my opinion, this is probably not the ideal time to start…I would recommend finishing out the school year and starting with a fresh curriculum next year if you can.)
However, here’s what I’ve told a number of anxious parents: In the elementary through middle school years, the most important thing is that your kids are reading as much as possible, writing regularly, and doing math. High school is a bit more complicated, but even then — those are the basics. Books and books and more books. Encourage them to get curious. Make them read books, listen to audio books, and write about what they’re learning. Find math websites or worksheets, or get familiar with the Kahn Academy. YOU CAN DO THIS.
Find links to a few of the posts where I talk about WHAT HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUMS WE ARE USING here:
3. WHAT I’M MOST CONCERNED ABOUT for our kids (please read this):
With the abrupt closing of schools and sports and so many other activities, I know that parents are scrambling to figure out childcare for their kids. This will not be easy and I am so so sorry for the headache and heartache it will cause. I hope this pandemic brings a lot of communities together in a special way and that many people step up to help one another out with selfless giving and creative solutions.
But one thing I am terrified of is the number of children who will be left unsupervised with access to the internet. I plead with you all to please take the time to set your kids up for success before leaving them alone — for a few minutes or all day. Every device your kid has access to really needs to have a filter and/or accountability software on it. (There are many to choose from. This post has links to the filter we use and my book, BOY MOM, has a full list.)
I recommend you set boundaries for gaming, social media, and any online activity your kids might seek out, or find by accident. Give them a schedule, work to do, and structure for their time. Check in with them often. Be sure to listen to my recent podcast episode about talking to your kids about pornography BEFORE they are on the internet (or now if you didn’t’ before.)
If you can work from home or arrange for someone to be with your kids who you trust, do it. I do not mean to incite fear, but there are some things worth fearing. The internet is one of them.
THE BRIGHT SIDE…
This time of working from home does not have to be negative and may even turn out to be incredibly positive for your kids. If you don’t believe me, consider Sir Isaac Newton’s story:
In 1665, during the Bubonic Plague, students at Cambridge University were sent home to study remotely in an effort to stop the spread of the awful disease. It was during this time at his parents’ home, away from his professors, that Isaac Newton thrived. Studying in the countryside, Newton developed theories OPTICS, GRAVITY, and the early study of CALCULUS. The year-plus that he spent away was later referred to as his annus mirabilis, the “year of wonders.”
What do you say, parents? This inconvenient time at home has the potential of being your kids’ “year of wonders” as well. With a little intentional parenting, we can foster such an environment, while avoiding some potential tragedies.
So friends, in closing…Dave and I send our best wishes… for safety and health. For communities that work together and unite to find creative solutions. For plenty of toilet paper to reach all of us in a timely manner. And for students using their time well.
Who knows if a genius or two might emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic.