It may not be safe to gather in physical groups, thanks to the COVID-19 coronavirus, but that’s not stopping the Grandview Heights parks and recreation department from having some fun.

Since everyday life began changing earlier this month and social distancing became the norm, the department has been looking for creative ways to keep the community engaged.

Recreation supervisor Taylor Lindsey said it was common sense to start thinking of alternatives when some of the department’s events became unfeasible due to Gov. Mike DeWine’s order banning groups of more than 100 people.

“We weren’t forced to be creative, but I knew parents would be stuck at home with energetic kids that need activities, and I thought we could help with some ideas since parents had other things to worry about,” Lindsey said.

“When they announced no groups over 100 people, we knew we should probably start canceling and refunding programs, events and shelter rentals. We haven’t technically canceled programs, but we have postponed them until further notice.”

The department sent out an email with a list of fun ideas in which families could partake separately, but collectively, too.

For example, the email asked residents to post shamrocks in their windows March 17-20, then take a walk around town and see how many they could spot.

Grandview Heights Schools’ spring break began March 23 and runs through Friday, March 30, so Lindsey asked families to build “sand castles” out of household items, then email photos to her at tlindsey@grandviewheights.org.

For April Fool’s Day, Wednesday, April 1, residents are asked to share their best practical joke with Lindsey or on the city’s Facebook page.

She said Grandview residents – particularly parents – have been happy to have some options during monotonous days – and those same parents are how the city is hoping for word to spread.

“Many parents have emailed saying thanks for sending out these fun ideas,” Lindsey said. “It gets them out of the house during these times and gives them a purpose to be out. It is great to see the pictures of all the families participating.

“Grandview is a small, close community, so sending a simple email and social-media posts gets the word out, then parents spread the word if they like the ideas, so it spreads quickly.”

Like everyone else, Lindsey and the recreation department aren’t sure how long they’ll need to continue making alternate plans.

Meanwhile, she said it’s important to keep people moving and energized, even if it’s from their own homes.

“It’s my job to come up with activities for the community, so thinking outside the box for this time of social distancing is important,” she said. “It is hard not to see the children in my classes and programs, but looking at the pictures of them still enjoying what we do is rewarding.”

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