We Are #417Strong

Six Ways to Stay Connected While Social Distancing

Staying home, avoiding crowds and practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t show your friends and family a little love. 417-landers are getting creative and finding clever ways to connect.

By Katie Pollock Estes

Mar 22 2020 at 9:29 a.m.

young child dressed as a red dragon
Photo courtesy Emily Johnson

The Drive-By Love Note

Emily Johnson and her kids, 8-year-old Quinn and 5-year-old Silas, are showing their friends a little love by sailing past their houses, little red dragon in tow, to say hello. She wrote on Instagram: “We might be a little nuts, but we’re also having a blast! To get out of the house today, the kids and I are dressing up and surprising our friends with a drive-by #onecarparade. It’s a hoot! Trust us. So if you want to be added to our route, DM me.”

The Hallway Concerts

In the hallways and stairwells of Bailey Lofts in downtown Springfield, Rachael Hudson put on a concert to lift the spirits of her neighbors while they all practiced social distancing. Tyler Drenon shared a video of the event on Facebook, where even folks who don’t live in the building could get a chance to enjoy the music. He wrote on his post: “COVID Concert Series at Bailey School Lofts. Thanks, Rachael! You are amazing! So heartwarming to see everyone.”

two kids playing tic-tac-toe on a glass door
Photo courtesy Dana Holt

The Screen Door Play Date

For kids, being away from their buddies is just as jarring as it is for adults. Dana Holt helped her son, Henry, connect by bringing markers to his friend Bennett Potter’s house for a game of screen door tic-tac-toe. The kiddos were separated by glass but still got to enjoy a little play time.

zoom happy hour with wine
Photo courtesy Sarah Patton

The Zoom Happy Hour

417 Magazine’s art director Sarah Patton and her husband, Cory, have implemented regular online happy hours via Zoom with their family. A little charcuterie, a little wine, and the faces of the people they love are a recipe for connection when they can’t be together. The group uses Zoom to meet up for some face-to-face time.

Rountree Elementary School Staff Parade flyer
Photo courtesy Rountree Elementary School

The Teachers on Parade

This afternoon, Rountree Elementary teachers are hitting the streets to say hello to students. Saturday, the school posted on Facebook: “Rountree staff members are excited to invite Rountree families to watch and wave during a special staff driving parade tomorrow afternoon between 2:00-2:45 PM! Rountree staff members will be driving around the neighborhood so that we can reconnect and spread some cheer to our Owl families!”

hand written note from a child
Photo courtesy Katie Pollock Estes

The Neighborhood Pen Pals

In my neighborhood, the kids on our street are finding ways to touch base during a time when they can’t play together. My son has been writing notes to his friends and leaving them on their front porches (along with a friendly sort of ring-and-run). The kids have written back and delivered the notes to our door too, so it looks like we have some neighborhood pens pals on our hands.