As the coronavirus pandemic continues into the warmer months, some parents have been looking for new ways to occupy their children’s time.
While time spent with family has increased with social distancing being encouraged by health officials, the lifting of restrictions in Georgia and around the country has led some parents to wonder if play dates can resume.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that children meeting in groups put everyone at risk of getting infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“While school is out, children should not have in-person play dates with children from other households,” the CDC said. “If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household.”
Instead of in-person gatherings, the agency recommends parents set up and oversee phone calls and video chats with friends.
Still, if parents want to set up play dates amid easing government restrictions, it may be better to have them outside. Erin Bromage, a comparative immunologist and professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, told CNN why being outdoors is likely safer than being indoors.
“In larger spaces with better ventilation or outdoors, the concentration of the virus can be diluted in the larger volume of the air,” Bromage said. “The lower the virus burden in the air, the longer you can be in that environment before receiving an infectious dose.”
Bromage’s blog post on knowing and avoiding coronavirus risks went viral last month.
There are also concerns about swimming pools, which have recently reopened.
The CDC says there’s no evidence that the coronavirus can be spread to people through such places as swimming pools or water play areas. However, people should take care not to share food, toys or equipment with people who don’t live with them. Sharing should likely be avoided on play dates, too.
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