Most of us are beginning the fourth week of “these challenging times” of social distancing, quarantine, or whatever you call staying at home, staying six feet from others and wearing face masks when out in public.
What are the newly homebound in the Potomac community doing with their time?
Many are working from home. Montgomery County Public Schools and most private school students are involved in distance learning. But how are residents spending the time they would have spent carpooling, participating in sports and other activities, even standing in line at Starbucks?
Mel Rumerman, public information specialist with Potomac Community Village, said village members realized they would have to make changes to the group’s plans about a month ago.
“As mid-March approached, the Potomac Community Village Board realized that plans for the immediate future had to change. So, we decided to cancel our March 19 and April 2 evening programs at the Potomac Community Center, which turned out to be a formality because Montgomery County closed all the Community Rec Centers and libraries, first through March and then through April 24,” Rumerman said.
The group quickly learned to use ZOOM as a tool for communication and reached out to its members to find out how they were doing and see if they had any particular needs, most importantly grocery shopping.
“For those members who do not have neighbors or family members who can help, area residents and our teen volunteers have offered to run errands and do grocery shopping,” he said.
Grace Chen, a senior at Winston Churchill High School and Potomac Community Village teen board member wrote, “I was tasked with calling/keeping in touch with 10 or so members of Potomac Community Village. I call them and email them once in a while to check up to see if they need anyone to talk to or need any help.”
As for the rest of the time, since there have been no classes at Churchill since March 13, Grace said, “I've been spending my time watching tv shows, playing piano, exercising indoors, and taking walks with my mom. I just got off a video call with two of my friends. We talked to each other about what we've been doing, but most of the time we just did our own thing with the video call still going on. It's nice to have your friends' presence even though we can't meet up.”
Anya Gupta is a sophomore at Holton Arms.
“I’ve been spending my time catching up on schoolwork, spending time with my family, writing/singing music, and FaceTime-ing friends. I have not been getting together with friends since before spring break, which was in early March. My family decided to take as many precautions as possible and stay inside,” she wrote.
Anya is also a finalist in the Young Songwriting awards of the Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards competition in Bethesda that was to have finals March 13 but was cancelled.
“The songwriting contest has been scheduled around late May, but I have a feeling it may get postponed again because my ACT was moved to June,” Anya said. “Holton has started distance learning, and it is going well!”
Edie Wingate, President of Friends of the Library, Potomac Chapter, pulled some ideas from her community listserv, ideas she thought were clever and neighborly, perfect adaptations for getting together without being together.
Here is a partial list:
- Someone organized a clean-up of the area – had gloves and bags available.
- Someone organized sewing masks for one of the hospitals.
- Someone organized a collection for food etc. for one of the shelters. Several of the families at the shelter are Whitman High School families.
- A family organized a birthday surprise for their 8-year old's birthday – complete with a drive by of about 1/2 dozen cars with children from the birthday girl's brownie troop.
Wingate said she and her husband Bill are working in the yard most days and listening to the Metropolitan Opera in the evenings.
She also sent along some links for virtual tours and musical performances.
Travelandleisure.com has posted an article on FaceBook entitled, “Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch (video).”
Washington’s own Hillwood Museum can be visited at www.hillwoodmuseum.org.
Free Broadway musicals are available to listen to at www.insider.com/stream-broadway-musicals-plays-for-free-online-limited-time-coronavirus-2020-3