There is never a good time for a pandemic, but the silver lining on this very dark cloud is that it’s happening at a time when we have the ability to communicate, learn and relax online.
For millions of us, the internet has become our lifeline. If we have kids whose schools are doing telelearning, it’s become their classroom. Through video chat services like Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype and Facetime, it’s become the way we get together with friends and family.
My wife and I attended our monthly book club online last week and hung out with our adult children. It’s also the way many doctors are seeing patients, and, of course, there are tons of educational and entertainment offerings. The Magical Bridge, which normally operates playgrounds for people of all abilities, is sponsoring a daily noon sing-along at https://www.facebook.com/MagicalBridge. Everyone knows about Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, but there are many other entertainment options from big companies, like Disney+ and Apple TV+ along with lesser known offerings like Kanopy and Hoopla (both offered for free by many libraries).
Many teachers are conducting classes through Zoom, Google Hangouts and other video platforms, but there are plenty of educational resources available for any student (or non-student) to access.
What follows are some online resources. If you’re reading this in the newspaper, you can find all of the links at Larrysworld.com/coping.
Common Sense Media just launched its Wide Open School project at WideOpenSchool.org, with free learning experiences broken down by Pre-K to 5th grade and grades 6-12. There are links to virtual story times for young children and plenty of learning experiences broken down by subject from the likes of Khan Academy, Sesame Street, Noggin, PBS, Scholastic, National Geographic and more. The organization did an amazing job of curating a lot of great content for parents and educators to use with their students. We Are Teachers has compiled a list of “200+ Amazing Online Learning Resources,” broken down by grade levels. One of those links provides ideas for projects broken down by subject.
This might be a good time to learn a language. Duolingo is offering limited free lessons while Babbel has announced that it will make its lessons available free to all K-12 and college students through the end of this term. There are lesson to help you learn to doodle, online jigsaw puzzles and craft projects from Michaels. NPR has compiled an ever expanding list of live virtual concerts and New York’s Metropolitan Opera is offering nightly free opera streams. TED Connects is doing Facebook Live events like “How to Memorize Your Credit Card Number Quickly,” among many other topics.
CNET has put together a list of free entertainment services including the Crackle movie site and free games such as Drawful 2 “which challenges players to draw ridiculous prompts on their smartphones and tablets.” It’s one of several online games from Jackbox Games that you can play remotely with friends and family. And if you’d love to go on a safari, but not on an airplane, visit the Cincinnati Zoo’s home safari YouTube page.
Coping with COVID-19
There are numerous resources to help us better understand and protect ourselves during this crisis. Discovery Education has an iOS app on safe distancing. Child Trends has advice for parents and educators on supporting children’s emotional well-being during the crisis. Of course there are the official sites from the CDC and World Health Organization, California Department of Public Health, and Santa Clara County Public Health. If you live outside of California, PolicyMed.com has a list of coronavirus resources broken down by state.
This can be a tough time for teenagers, which is why the Palo Alto Library put together a directory of Helplines, and Safelines for Teens, which offer resources for the entire country.
Even if you’re feeling well now, find out if your doctor or clinic offers telemedicine. You may be able to see your doctor and have him or her see you, without leaving your home. There are also some self-evaluation tools like Kardia Mobile’s $89 electrocardiogram device that measure EKS and detects atrial fibrillation or normal heart rhythm from home.
There is a lot of online advice about safer ways to shop for groceries. Omni Calculator has a food calculator to help determine how much (and what kinds of) food you’ll need to limit your shopping or deliveries to once every two weeks. To discourage hoarding, they also have a tool to help you calculate how many rolls of toilet paper you might need. You’ll find links to a lot more resources on shopping and handling packaging, shopping bags and food at LarrysWorld.com/shopping, including a 13-minute video on COVID-19 Food Safety Tips by a family physicians from Michigan.
And please accept my invitation to join me in a regular interactive online video at ConnectSafely.org/live.