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Schools are closing across the nation in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In central Virginia, both Richmond Public Schools and Henrico County Public Schools have decided to shut their doors for at least two weeks.

The closures, that begin on Monday, March 16, were announced on Thursday. Gov. Ralph Northam has also declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth.

While teachers are being asked to send students home with work and reading materials, parents are looking for ways to make the extended stay as easy as possible.

Here are a few tips to help make those days at home as stress-free as possible.

Create A Schedule

Plan out each day in advance. Schedule a time for everything: learning, playtime, reading. The key is to make sure to include breaks and opportunities to get up and be a little more active. Post your schedule up high so everyone can see it and be accountable for their time.

Organize Childcare

Despite schools closing, many businesses are still operational, which means many parents will still be expected at work. Some parents may struggle to find childcare. If out-of-home care is not available, try to employ the help of family and friends. Neighbors may also be able to work together to facilitate in-home childcare during this specific time.

Food Concerns

Food insecurity can be an issue in some households. So, Richmond Public Schools will be setting up numerous distribution locations at schools across the city to ensure that students continue to receive nutritious meals throughout the closure. These distribution sites will begin operation on Monday morning. RPS will post additional details on their website.

Make it Fun

Being away from school, friends and work for an extended amount of time can be hard. So, try to include ideas that are not only fun for your child, but also for yourself. Play some music to set the tone for the day. Read together, have a dance break or an arts and crafts hour. Get creative and start with a smile!

Be Productive

This could be a great opportunity to teach something domestic like cooking or even how to do laundry. Or consider that eternally pending project that you just can’t get around to — spring clean your home, clean out the garage. Take an online course! There are tons of great ways to make the most of your downtime right home.

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