Social distancing: What to do in the meantime


By Emma Galef, Staff Reporter

The coronavirus, COVID-19, has turned into a global pandemic in a matter of months. Superintendent Richard Gusick sent out a letter on March 12 closing down all schools in the T/E School District from March 13 through March 27. After Governor Tom Wolf’s recommendation that entertainment venues be shut down, the King of Prussia Mall closed along with local movie theaters, bookstores and countless other amusements. 

With school and retail stores closed, we still need to remember how important social distancing — limiting contact with others in an effort to reduce the spread of the disease  — is to the health of our community. Staying home and away from others can help us protect ourselves as well as individuals in vulnerable groups. 

In the meantime, what should we do for entertainment?  While we need to keep ourselves and others safe, how can ’Stoga students avoid getting cabin fever?  

First, here are a few tips for staying healthy:

1. Wash your hands or rub your hands with hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.

2. Stay 6 feet away from people to stop transmission of the virus.

4. Stay at home if you are sick, except to get medical care.

5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

6. Don’t touch your face with your hands.

Now, here are some lazy-day activities you can do at home with your family, friends or by yourself:  

1. Watch Netflix. What’s better than cozying up on the couch with hot chocolate in your hand, fuzzy socks on your feet and a warm blanket on your back? Whether enjoying a rom-com, binging your favorite TV show or singing along with Mamma Mia, Netflix is a place where all worries subside. If you’re interested in movies that will give you a good scare, here are a few notable thrillers to help pass the time:

When a Stranger Calls: This slasher and thriller begins with the mysterious and gruesome murder of a dozen children near a carnival. A few days later, teen Jill Johnson arrives at a luxurious, secluded mansion on a lake to babysit two young children. Shortly after they go to sleep, the phone starts ringing, and Jill hears her stalker’s eerie breaths, later followed by blood curdling warnings threats. This movie will leave viewers horrified and make you never want to babysit again! 

47 Meters Down: Uncaged: This thriller will make you never want to swim in the ocean again. Four teenage divers neglectfully choose to explore underwater Mayan caves, unaware that they are actually stuck in a maze. With oxygen running low, they quickly figure out that drowning isn’t their only problem: multiple colossal-size sharks are on their tails. With multiple near-death scenes and enough blood to fill an Olympic swimming pool, this shark movie will keep you on the edge of your seat! 

Crawl: In the midst of a hurricane on the coast of Florida, college swimmer Haley ignores all flood warnings and drives toward her neighborhood in search of her father, who won’t answer any of her calls. Haley finds him passed out in their basement, when suddenly, water floods in through a massive hole in the wall, and two angry crocodiles stampede into the house. As Haley tries to drag her father upstairs to safety, she finds the first floor is flooded, too. How can this young girl save her father against all odds? Watch to find out!  

2. Play Cards. I’ll sound like your grandma when I say this, but playing cards can be one of the best ways to pass time and have fun with your family! From Uno to Crazy 8’s, Rummy, Spades, BS, Solitaire and War, playing cards is always a good time. My family started dragging me into playing Canasta recently, which I wasn’t happy about, but once the game starts, I must admit: the thrill is real. Playing cards is rewarding by bringing an element of competition while bonding the family together. 

3. Solve a Puzzle. Whether it’s a 100,000-piece jigsaw, the New York Times crossword or sudoku, solving a puzzle brings a sense of accomplishment. They can keep you occupied for hours and are great for exercising your brain while introducing an element of fun and problem-solving.  

4. Read. Remember that book that sounded interesting a year ago? You swore you’d read it, but never found the time. Well, here’s that moment you’ve been waiting for. With all the time in the world, why not dive into that fantasy novel and experience the magic of reading for pleasure? If hard copies are sold out, you can turn to eBooks. So, what are you waiting for? Stock up on books! You can even reread your past favorites. Go crazy!   

5.  Make Art. Watercolor, pastel, clay, pottery, the limit doesn’t exist! You have hours on your hands to create something unique. Why not try something you don’t typically engage in? So many people haven’t made art since it was a requirement in middle school. Order a canvas, relax outside in nature and see what inspires you.

6. Try Something New. If none of these ideas are new to you, why not begin learning a new language, meditating or building a robot? Starting new and interesting projects left and right isn’t limited to just “Phineas and Ferb”! You can bake a dessert or create an entirely new recipe from scratch. Learn how to ride a skateboard, try doing the splits or improve your balance. Whatever adventure you choose, learning something new will set your mind at ease.

7. Repeat. Once you’ve accomplished everything on this to-do list, continue pursuing new activities! You can watch Netflix, play cards, read and write for pleasure, learn how to play a new instrument, FaceTime your friends, make an artistic masterpiece, do a photoshoot outside, and just enjoy the free feeling of being you. There’s now plenty of time, so start living your ideal life. Hopefully you can incorporate these habits into your daily life when school starts up again. Until then, stay safe, ’Stoga!  

Cartoon by Sophia Pan

Emma Galef can be reached at [email protected].