Advice about Social Distancing

Parent Q&A

Trouble finding masks for petite teen Mar 8, 2021 (10 responses below)
All day in-person retreat? Jun 15, 2020 (18 responses below)
Do you say someting when someone in not wearing a mask? Jun 1, 2020 (13 responses below)
Over-Protective Adult Child During the Pandemic May 20, 2020 (9 responses below)
Neighbors having a backyard party during SIP May 8, 2020 (6 responses below)
  • Trouble finding masks for petite teen

    (10 replies)

    Hi - we haven't been able to find a good mask to fit my teen daughter - she's 14 but petite.  The grown up masks are too big and child ones too small.  We've tried some sellers on Etsy but no luck.  I don't have any sewers in my small friend/family circle - is there a place we can go pay to have one made to fit?  Or good sources of ones to buy with variable sizes?

    It's so hard to know if a mask will fit your teen, because everyone's face is different, not just in size, but also in shape, bridge of nose, etc. But here are some of my suggestions:

    Uniqlo Adult Size M: I bought these and they were a bit small for my average (adult) face, so this might fit your daughter. 
    Costco 32 degrees Face Mask (Child): These are very flexible. They fit my 9 year old who has a very large face, with room to stretch more.

    Or...just take any adult size mask that doesn't fit well, and buy ear loop adjustors (they are also called cord locks). You can get them for very cheap on Amazon, they look like little silicon tubes. Slide them over the ear loops and pull to adjust. These will only work for masks with an elastic ear loop (note that the two masks I recommend above have a fabric ear loop so won't adjust). This is a MUST BUY actually for anyone to get a good snug fitting mask, as there is no such thing as "one size fits all". 

    My very tall 8 year old prefers to wear my masks because the kid ones are getting too small for her. We get soft fabric ones with the adjustable straps on Etsy. They also don’t fog up glasses which is huge for us.

  • All day in-person retreat?

    (18 replies)

    Work wants to host a small executive team, all day, in-person strategic planning retreat in a person's backyard. The host guarantees that each chair will be 6 feet apart and food and drinks will not be shared. But, it's from 9:30 am - 5:30 pm. Bathroom use will need to happen. Among the proposed attendees, one person sends a child to camps. The host says there will be wipes in the bathroom. 

    Even if it's outdoors, spending 8 hours day in a backyard, talking, eating, drinking feels like it's increasing risks. You can't be masked while eating and drinking. Bathroom air can linger indoors. 

    The location will require me to go to a gas station and pump gas which is additional contact with the world. We have been living on 100% contactless delivery and have not kept up with our car. 

    I'm very nervous about this. I think some people believe that there's magic and concrete benefits to in-person interaction. I think the benefit is real but does not weigh the risks. 

    How should I talk to the powers that be? Or do I just take the plunge and hope and pray that we remain lucky? Am I overreacting? 

    RE: All day in-person retreat? ()

    Hi! I completely have the same concerns. I think that it is important for you to voice your sentiments about this in writing and request a virtual option. I am refusing to delve back into in person meetings especially because the number of cases are rising and people are being extremely careless about protecting themselves and others. Both of my children are immuno-compromised and I WILL NOT oblige to do anything (pertaining to work) that will put them or myself at risk. 

    RE: All day in-person retreat? ()

    First, I'm not sure BPN is the best forum for this question. I'd recommend you read about "COVID return to work" topics on, which has lots of recent questions in this ballpark.

    But, my opinion is split. Yes, you are overreacting a little bit because you have been so sheltered-in-place. But also yes, this is a situation that essentially requires you all to select into a social bubble that you should have the option NOT to join. You should feel fine about telling your boss you don't feel comfortable and send you the zoom link. However, you should also work on tiptoeing back into physical work life. As a perspective, at my office of 150 people, we went "remote" on the day before SIP started, but about 15 staff never work remotely because their job can't be done remotely, and about 20-30 more of us (including me) have been working in the office 2-3 days per week with other people. We wear masks now, didn't at the beginning prior to that guidance. Plenty of people are out there in the world, taking precautions, because work has to get done. For whatever reason, your work has decided to ask some employees to show up physically (in this dumb setting, but whatever), and as long as they are following the health order, that is their prerogative as an employer.

    Maybe you can find some wiggle room by negotiating the length of the event. If it's only 3 hours, everyone can keep their masks on the whole time, no need to eat or drink.

    RE: All day in-person retreat? ()

    Hi - if you are under 50, you have a greater risk of dying from a car accident than covid.  If it's outside, your chances of contracting this I believe are next to none.  This website has good data compilation (links directly to CDC website and other sources).  I don't understand why the media reports only stories and not overall data ...

  • I'm wondering what other are doing when they encounter people who are not wearing a mask or improperly wearing a mask?  
    Do you say something? 
    If it's at a business do you leave and shop somewhere else?

    I was on College Ave ordering take out.  After entering and placing an order I saw the person preparing the food was not wearing there face mask properly.  It was pulled down exposing their nose.  I debated saying something but, left instead.  I'm not is a high risk demographic.  But I am in one of the higher than average risk groups.

    When I was shopping in one of the large chain supermarkets and saw employees who were wearing face shields and no mask at all.  Two other employees had their mask pulled down exposing their nose.  At other times I have seen people wearing masks upside down or masks that just don't fit.

    While I appreciate that these people are making an effort to prevent the spread of covid-19 the result is nearly ineffective.

    If you enter a business where the employees are not wearing a mask properly do you just leave?
    Do you have something clever to say to get them to wear a mask or wear their mask properly?


    I think that this is tricky--people generally don't like to be told what to do, and so saying something about mask wearing seems likely to make people defensive, rather than change their behavior. If I am out in general public and someone is not wearing a mask, I don't say anything--but just move away. I do think that the situation you described--a business--is different.   In this case, maybe it's more effective to leave and then call or email the business and politely say that you came in and left because employees were not wearing masks.  I would assume that if a business wants customers to come back, they would address this with employees. And if it's a manager that isn't wearing masks, then good for that person to know that it matters to customers. You could also say something as you leave the business, but if you are talking to employees and not the manager, that may not have much impact. 

    It depends. If it is a store or restaurant or another place where I am a customer and it is employee not wearing the mask then I would leave and say something to the people there that I'm leaving because I don't feel safe there due to no mask by employees (if the employee in question is interacting with customers or food and so putting me at risk) since it makes it my business and I feel ok saying something.  If it is just another customers I will stay away from that person or maybe step out and go back in when they leave, I generally don't feel it is my business to tell another customer what to do and will just stay away from them.  With employees it is different since I have a right to let them know that I won't purchase from them because I don't like their safety/hygiene standards and then will leave. 

    I tell any frontline worker “thank you for your service” and if I see they are not wearing a mask, I remind them to. I am so grateful for the work they are doing and I wouldn’t want them to lose any business because of something so small. 

    As for mask wearing...

    Why? My spouse is working with patients who have COVId everyday and we are always potential carriers. We’ve lost two friends to it. 

    Do masks work? We don’t know. The N95 masks do. The others may or may not. At this point, they are a sign of respect - that this is being taken seriously. If someone is preparing my food and they sneeze and don’t cover their mouth or nose, would you eat the food? 

    I encounter this situation with friends in passing (we continue to distance because we are potential carriers). With friends and family, I have to say, “ah you don’t want go near us!” And “oh my mask is falling” to remind them. If they don’t catch the drift, then I say, “if you don’t wear your mask, that’s fine but I have to stay apart from you.”

    ***For the record, three months ago, I was making fun of wearing masks and I really, really despise them. 

  • Is anyone else having trouble with adult children trying to tell them what to do re. the pandemic? Relations with our 30-year-old daughter, who lives overseas with her children, have been affectionate and close for the last several years; she calls most weeks, seems to enjoy talking to us and receiving visits, and confides in me without being asked about her children, relationships and career. However, we haven't communicated for almost two weeks now.

    Initially, she was bothered by my going out twice a week to walk or have coffee with her father, or with a friend. (We stay outdoors, away from other people, and the friend and I keep well apart.) My daughter had accused me of "going out to play with your friends; how is this essential?" and so forth. My husband and I finally e-mailed her about our safety precautions, along with City of Berkeley guidelines, etc., reminding her that we need fresh air and sunshine, that we were trying to understand her fears, and that we love her. Her response, sent just to me, was cold and downright nasty: among other things, she accused me of endangering her father's health, claimed that the e-mail was patronizing ('all your little factoids") and that I was ignoring the pandemic's seriousness, ending with the request that I not contact her for a while, which I have honored. (I expect that she'll call sooner rather than later, but it might well be later.)

    I understand, or think I understand, the fear behind her words. I was also responding to her emotions with facts and science, which probably struck the wrong chord. And, as my husband pointed out, she can't/won't accept that we understand my health and his, and take good care of both; she appears to believe that anyone over 64 is not only automatically vulnerable, but should stay indoors 24/7.

    I know that she's working toward a job certification, and feeling stressed. Our daughter is a perfectionist, hard on herself and others, and has always tended to take out her stress on me, her "safe" person, but hadn't done so in several years; I hoped she was growing out of it.
    I remain angry, and hurt, although coping pretty well with my feelings. Any similar experience to share? I don't need fixing, per se--and, please, no lectures about social distancing; I'm well aware that not everyone agrees with me--but could do with a little consolation and insight. Best wishes to all the parents out there, whatever age your kids.

    I think I understand your daughter's fear and anger. You really aren't suppose to be going out for walks and coffee with anyone except people you live with. I know it's hard and it sucks, but that's what the health order has stated. Luckily, things are starting to open up and many restrictions are being lifted. I think you are somewhat in denial about your risk. You said you don't want lectures, and that's fine. But if you are going to interpret the guidelines your own way, don't be surprised when people, especially people who love you, get upset and scared.

    So sorry to hear that your daughter became "over-protective." My 30-year-old son, who lives on the East Coast, also became very directive (although he never became nasty). Some of the information and advice he gave me was useful but some seemed over the top. It was the first time our roles had reversed, with him worrying about me and giving advice (sometimes too intensely) rather than the other way around. I kept telling myself that this was his "stepping up to the plate" to be the protector and that it was a good development. He has since described himself as having "overdone" his own self-protection at the beginning (and perhaps your daughter will come to that realization eventually). I hope your daughter eventually re-contacts you. Or you might, after what is a long enough break, contact her again about non-threatening subjects (asking about her children, you and her father are well, Spring is lovely, you've been doing more cooking, etc.) Hang in there!

    I feel for you and your daughter. As you point out she is afraid and we are not our best selves when we act from fear. If she is a perfectionist maybe name for her how scary these times are and how anxious it must make her feel. I try to remember that nothing is perfect, personal or permanent and that this and all situations are complex and changing and that you want a connection with her. You are right to need sunshine etc. Do you have to tell her? Maybe say you are staying safe and following the health dept recs. And then shower her with love.

  • Young neighbors moved in recently.

    They have had friends over and hang out. They go our for a run, go to stores, etc. Today, they decided to have a jolly gathering in the backyard with about 8 or 9 people, shoulder to shoulder, laughing, drinking, chairs right next to each other. We have a fence but their congregation is just on the other side of the fence and their walkway is about 4 ft from our windows. The fence has gaps and holes. We are very exposed to them. It’s hot. Our windows are open with a clear view of their party. If the virus can be carried upwind and if one of them have it, we have been exposed. 

    I am upset. We have existing conditions that put us in a high risk category. What can I do? Should I let the landlord know?

    We are sheltering in and taking every precaution.  We miss our friends. Kids cry because they miss their friends. They see our neighbors having a party and ask why we can’t see our friends. 

    Speaking with the landlord is probably a good idea.

    I would contact either the city health department if you’re in Berkeley or county health department if not in Berkeley and ask what enforcement actions can be taken. If you don’t get anywhere with health departments I would contact your city council member or county supervisor that represents your neighborhood. This is what local elected officials are for - finding solutions to these types of problems. Good luck!

    Report them. Report them to their landlord and/ or to the police (please use non emergency line). I HATE inconsiderate irresponsible people. So if you are up for it, maybe you should shame them as well. Take their pics and post them around the neighborhood.