The paradox of Social-Distancing among kids

Most would agree that the social-distancing policy, brought about as a result of the spreading coronavirus, has indeed had a ‘counterproductive’ effect. Whether being on lockdown or highly encouraged to stay at home and practice social distancing when going out into the public, people started re-connecting with relatives and friends. In isolation and self-restriction, in loneliness and fear, we reached out to the ones we love and care for.

But what does Social Distancing mean to the 5-year-old kids in the context of their play? This image poses a serious question. What is the child-friendly version of Social Distancing? According to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and as stated in an article by SkyNews “the widespread use of face masks is still not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence”.

Then, how do you socially distance kids whose brains are unable to comprehend the health risks associated with staying around and playing with their friends? What is your experience in explaining the situation to your early age kids or students and having them interact in a socially distant and appropriate manner?

School is far from fun when kids are not allowed to stand close nor speak to each other when conversations during lunch and play during recess are not part of the equation. Japanese students who have been stripped off their social relations, find these measures take the fun out of school. According to an article on CNN Health News, “The coronavirus is threatening not only our lives but also our social relations as we try to navigate how a socially distant world should look”.

Another question that I ask myself when I see some kids frantically searching for their mask once done with their lunch is: “How are we going to help children re-adapt to a world free of COVID-19? How deeply ingrained is the sense of worry in children’s consciousness?

I wish someone could disclose the percentage of all those infected by COVID-19 who were wearing masks “most of the time” versus the people who were not. Then, we would a better understanding of how shielded we are from the virus when wearing a mask.

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