SUFFOLK COUNTY

Parents share how they educate children on coronavirus

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We asked parents from Bay Shore to Bellport how they were coping with teaching their kids about the coronavirus, mitigating their risk for contraction, and what the next steps were in terms of family vacations for the upcoming spring break.

Overall, parents were following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice and going over the princi- ples and practicality of hand-washing and sterilizing surfaces as much as pos- sible. Robert Johnson of Patchogue said in the face of the coronavirus concerns he was reinforcing standard hygiene practices. “Washing hands, keep[ing] hands and personal items from out- side the home away from your face, no hand-holding, etc.”

Most parents who responded to our inquiry on over half a dozen Facebook parents’ groups echoed this sentiment and were adamant that regular flu-season precautions were in place.

Parents of some older students at a college or university noted that their children’s schools had canceled or transferred class sessions to online sessions.

“My daughter’s university recalled all their study abroad programs,” said Christine Brennan Jones of Islip.

While there have been some school closures on Long Island, parents were fairly confident that their districts would react with appropriate action in the event of a diagnosed case in the student/teacher/ staff population.

Travel plans have been affected, but mostly in cancellations of business trips for parents who sent direct messages detailing extensive back-and-forth with airlines who are not covering the coro- navirus travel advisories as “legitimate” cancellation reasons.

Brooke Lynn of Medford boasted, “I got a great deal on a cruise so... [the coronavirus] hasn’t affected me in a negative way.”

More domestic travel has come under scrutiny, as one parent noted. “Four of my orchestra students (I teach in Nassau County) just had their Long Island String Festival weekend canceled due to coronavirus fears. The festival was supposed to be held in a Uniondale high school, where the one case was found. This is insane,” said Megan Zarchy of Islip.

Even simple day or Broadway show trips into the city as well as regular commuting have become an issue. “[Our daughter] is worried because her dad travels to the city and uses mass transit each day,” said Lynn Brittney of Patchogue, who went on to explain that they have had extensive discussions with their daughter regarding hygienic safety methods and populations at risk.

In a special address to parents, the CDC confirms that children are best protected when fully informed and diligently reminded of good personal hygiene practices.

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