Family Room

“The next few weeks are going to be a challenge,” McHarper Manor posted to Facebook early this week. “It’s going to be hard on kids being away from school. It’s going to be a challenge and huge change for working parents.”

But even with the widespread closures in the hopes of a precautionary measure against COVID-19, there is still some light in the darkness.

Businesses like McHarper Manor, a children’s art and play center in Ohio, are bringing their offerings to the public, thanks to the Internet.

“We want to help!” a recent Facebook post read. “Here’s what we’re going to do: Beginning next week, our studio will be going live daily with free art and craft tutorials to create at home with your kids!”

Art projects with shopping lists, and links to supplies you can order online, are part of the quarantine solution.

“We hope this helps the parents, grandparents, nannies and in-home providers to still have something fun to do with these little guys, and something exciting to look forward to during a time that can be quite overwhelming for kids. Art is therapy, friends! And if there was ever a time for it, it’s now!”

Large organizations like The Cincinnati Zoo have closed, but a Facebook Live event is being offered every day at 3 p.m. featuring an animal and activity that kids can do at home every day. And local organizations are attempting similar solutions.

The upcoming scheduled events for the remainder of March have been postponed at Phoenix Books in Rutland, including all Wednesday and Saturday Story Times, but co-owner Michael DeSanto said in a mass email that the Rutland store remains open, and if you can’t make it to the store in person, they are currently offering free domestic shipping through the website.

Rutland Youth Theatre Program Director Nikki Adams posted a letter to the community saying, “The welfare of RYT’s participants and families is our absolute first priority. After discussing realistic concerns with various health professionals in addition to conducting our own research, we must take precautions amidst the COVID-19 situation. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to postpone ‘The Wizard of Oz’ production until further notice.

“We are, however, already brainstorming alternative options for our young creative minds to continue learning and developing their theatre skills,” she added. “Please keep a look out for potential workshops later this spring and online video tutorials from some of your favorite RYT veterans.”

And Rutland Free Library Director Randal Smathers said the library would be closed as of noon on Wednesday, March 18, but there are many online options through the website.

“We are planning on reopening April 6,” Smathers said. “The same as the schools. We will not be charging any fines during the interim and we’re setting all due dates back to April 20.”

After the close of the library’s children’s programs recently, Smathers said, “I think parents are taking it very seriously (and) have chosen to stay home.” But, he added, “We have downloadable e-books, audio books, and streaming video at www.rutlandfree.org. We’ve added extra titles to that and we hope folks can find that and use those services.”

Keep an eye on the websites of your favorite arts organizations for reopen dates and online offerings, and for additional resources regarding the coronavirus, please see: Vermont Department of Health at www.healthvermont.gov/; and World Health Organization at www.who.int/

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