What does social distancing mean? (added 3/20/20)

The official phrase is "social distancing," but it can also be described as "physical distancing" instead. Social distancing practices can help stop the spread of infections by creating space between people. This makes it harder for viruses, including COVID-19, to spread and reduces the number of sick people at one time. Then, doctors can keep up with treating sick people who need care.

Social distancing can be done in different ways, including: 

  • closing schools, restaurants, shops, movie theaters
  • canceling community events
  • avoiding public spaces
  • not getting together in person with friends
  • not going to stores unless it is necessary, like grocery stores for food
  • working from home if possible
  • not taking public transportation, including buses, taxis and rideshares
  • avoiding physical contact with others in social situations, including handshakes, hugs and kisses

What Can I Do?

While the coronavirus is still spreading, it's best to take a "better safe than sorry" approach. This means:

  • Stay away from everyone, even if they don’t seem sick -- people who do not have symptoms may still be infected and spread the virus

  • Keep your family home

  • If you have to go out for food and groceries, make sure you are at least 6 feet away from other people. Viruses can spread when someone sneezes or coughs out tiny droplets. These droplets can travel more than 6 feet before falling to the ground

  • Avoid people who are sick

  • Clean surfaces that get touched a lot (like faucets and door knobs) with soap and water, or a disinfectant spray

  • Make sure that everyone in your home washes their hands frequently

  • Make sure the children keep at least 6 feet of distance from other children if they are playing outside

Having children at home for extended periods of time can be hard. Yet, the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. While kids may find social distancing the toughest part of this experience, remind them of the important role they play in keeping themselves, their family and other people in their community safe!

Here is resource for kids that help explain why practices like social distancing are important.